Time is running out to formally submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its proposal to change the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2014. The 60-day comment period ends Tuesday.
Several renewable fuels groups have already submitted their comments on the policy, which suggests a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the RFS – from 16.5 billion gallons in 2013 to 15.2 in 2014.
Opponents of the change, like the National Biodiesel Board, say the proposal will hurt expansion in the renewable fuel arena.
NBB CEO Joe Jobe said Tuesday that the biodiesel industry, which hit record production last year, is concerned about future expansion.
"The EPA's volume proposal for 2014 would effectively cut the volumes in half from current production levels," Jobe noted. "I can't think of a more unacceptable example of a call for full retreat during such an overwhelming (production volume) victory."
According to Jobe, the industry will be listening closely to the President's State of the Union Address, scheduled for 8 p.m. CST Tuesday for more information on his renewable fuels position.
Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, suggested that the President submit his own comments to the EPA.
"The sentiment from almost one-third of the U.S. Senate is the proposal needs revision. We want the EPA to reconsider," Grassley said in a statement last week. "The President as a supporter of biofuels should weigh in as needed."
Grassley joined a group of bipartisan Senators in sending a letter opposing RFS changes to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. A group of House members sent a similar letter earlier in January.
The National Corn Growers is also opposed to the plan. According to NCGA President Martin Barbre, "The impacts of the EPA's proposal, if enacted, will ripple throughout communities where America's family farmers live, shop and do business. Rural America cannot afford this and neither can the environment."
Proponents of the RFS rollback, however, say that the changes would bring the policy back in line with the amount of fuel that can be absorbed by the E10 market. The American Petroleum Institute and AAA Motorclub have also argued against ethanol for what they say is a negative impact on engines.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 2500 comments had been submitted on the proposal via the Federal Register.