RFS Hearing Goes 12 Hours, Draws Hundreds

Cindy Zimmerman

Over 140 stakeholders testified at a hearing Thursday on the Environmental Protection Agency proposal to lower the biofuels targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2014, and those opposed to the plan outnumbered those in favor by a ratio of more than two to one.

dinneen1“More than 100 of the 144 speakers support #ethanol, #biodiesel & advanced biofuels,” tweeted Renewable Fuels Association (RFS) president Bob Dinneen. “Don’t mess w/ the RFS!” Bob Dinneen testimony at EPA hearing

The hearing, which lasted 12 hours, included livestock producers from Iowa who testified against lowered the RFS requirements. Among those testifying in favor of the proposal was National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) past president and Illinois farmer and rancher Steve Foglesong.

“I am a corn farmer, I just choose to feed it to cattle, it’s value added,” said Foglesong. “It’s not that different from the ethanol industry who takes corn to feed it into their plants and produce ethanol, dried distillers grains (DDGs), and carbon dioxide instead of beef. The process is identical, all but the RFS mandate, which gives the ethanol industry an advantage in purchasing corn. We’re not opposed to corn ethanol, but it’s time to look at reforming the RFS and let the market pick winners and losers instead of the government.”

The National Corn Growers Association had dozens of witnesses from around the country, but one of their best advocates was a young man with no ties to either side. “Coolest witness of the day at #RFS hearing: college student from Michigan drove in with E85 to testify!” tweeted NCGA. “He uses E10 in his lawn mower.”

All of those who testified at the hearing Thursday submitted written comments to the EPA regarding the RFS plan for 2014. Comments will be accepted until Jan. 28.

Audio, Corn, Ethanol, NCBA, RFA

Comments 6

  1. Sure, I understand why the oil lobby opposes ethanol – they don’t control the molecule. Protecting their turf, simple as that. But consider this – ethanol has bailed out the oil industry several times over the past decade. First, when MTBE was found to be too toxic and non-biodegradable as an oxygenate additive to gasoline, ethanol became the only logical choice to replace MTBE due to its immediate availability at required volumes. Second, the gasoline refiners and blenders were BEGGING for more ethanol when hurricanes Katrina and Rita shut down 25% of the refining capacity for a prolonged period. Today, blenders are using ethanol as a SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER octane blend stock to blend up less expensive, low grade gasoline to meet octane specifications. For proof, look at what happened to the ethanol inventories when the EPA announced the potential mandate reduction – a huge buying spree, presumably by the gasoline blenders, temporarily causing a large price spike in ethanol. Make no mistake – the gasoline producers/blenders are taking full advantage of the positive virtues of ethanol while trying to kill the industry simply because they don’t control the production of C2H6O. The gasoline industry seems to be sawing their own arm off. The screams of arm pain will certainly follow.

  2. Sure, I understand why the oil lobby opposes ethanol – they don’t control the molecule. Protecting their turf, simple as that. But consider this – ethanol has bailed out the oil industry several times over the past decade. First, when MTBE was found to be too toxic and non-biodegradable as an oxygenate additive to gasoline, ethanol became the only logical choice to replace MTBE due to its immediate availability at required volumes. Second, the gasoline refiners and blenders were BEGGING for more ethanol when hurricanes Katrina and Rita shut down 25% of the refining capacity for a prolonged period. Today, blenders are using ethanol as a SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER octane blend stock to blend up less expensive, low grade gasoline to meet octane specifications. For proof, look at what happened to the ethanol inventories when the EPA announced the potential mandate reduction – a huge buying spree, presumably by the gasoline blenders, temporarily causing a large price spike in ethanol. Make no mistake – the gasoline producers/blenders are taking full advantage of the positive virtues of ethanol while trying to kill the industry simply because they don’t control the production of C2H6O. The gasoline industry seems to be sawing their own arm off. The screams of arm pain will certainly follow.

  3. I am also supportive of Steve Foglesong’s comment getting the government out of the picking winners and losers business. My former company, KL Energy, could be a poster child in support of the bad things that happen to good companies when the government starts to pick and choose (but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Taking Mr. Foglesong’s comment to its conclusion, removing the mandate should then be followed by removing the EPA blend wall – completely. Why stop there. The government could basically sunset the LDP for corn price support as an unnecessary program because the corn growers are receiving, finally after all these years, a fair market price for their product. Seems like a winner all the way around. I suspect the corn belt would enjoy a great boon of cheap automotive fuel and high value, purified protein byproduct for the cattle feeders, pure, inexpensively isolated CO2 for the beverage or dry ice industries (or true sequestration, if that ever begins to make any sense to anybody). Conversely, the talking heads on the left and right coasts who continue to fly over my part of the country, wondering, but not really knowing what really goes on down there, will complain of soaring ‘regular’ gasoline prices and never associating the cause and effect.

  4. I am also supportive of Steve Foglesong’s comment getting the government out of the picking winners and losers business. My former company, KL Energy, could be a poster child in support of the bad things that happen to good companies when the government starts to pick and choose (but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Taking Mr. Foglesong’s comment to its conclusion, removing the mandate should then be followed by removing the EPA blend wall – completely. Why stop there. The government could basically sunset the LDP for corn price support as an unnecessary program because the corn growers are receiving, finally after all these years, a fair market price for their product. Seems like a winner all the way around. I suspect the corn belt would enjoy a great boon of cheap automotive fuel and high value, purified protein byproduct for the cattle feeders, pure, inexpensively isolated CO2 for the beverage or dry ice industries (or true sequestration, if that ever begins to make any sense to anybody). Conversely, the talking heads on the left and right coasts who continue to fly over my part of the country, wondering, but not really knowing what really goes on down there, will complain of soaring ‘regular’ gasoline prices and never associating the cause and effect.

  5. With the sub-$4 dollar corn, I am still waiting for food prices to plummet in the grocery stores. Cheap food !!!!

    Oh wait, they won’t drop the prices will they?

    I agree, governments play favorites, but you can’t start something, make promises, and then leave people out in the cold, can you?

    The government has, and will continue to play favorites, and until we outlaw lobbyists and special interest groups get used to it.

  6. With the sub-$4 dollar corn, I am still waiting for food prices to plummet in the grocery stores. Cheap food !!!!

    Oh wait, they won’t drop the prices will they?

    I agree, governments play favorites, but you can’t start something, make promises, and then leave people out in the cold, can you?

    The government has, and will continue to play favorites, and until we outlaw lobbyists and special interest groups get used to it.

Comments are closed.