Last day to submit comments on RFS waiver

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2012- Today is the last day the Environmental Protection Agency accepts comments on how it should respond to requests to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In August, the Governors of Arkansas and North Carolina formally requested that EPA waive a portion of the RFS, citing economic strain for livestock and poultry producers.

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“While the severe drought that our nation has experienced is an underlying factor in current economic conditions, the direct harm is caused by the RFS requirement to utilize ever-increasing amounts of corn and soybeans for transportation fuel, severely increasing the costs of producing food and further depleting already severely stressed grain supplies,” said N.C. Governor Beverly Eaves Perdue in her request to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

According to comments submitted by the National Chicken Council, which supports a full, one-year waiver of the 2013 RFS, “since the RFS went into effect in October of 2006, the chicken industry has had to endure more than $30 billion collectively in increased input costs.”

The NCC said a full waiver would reduce the price of corn by more than $2.00 per bushel. 

However, the Renewable Fuels Association disagreed, claiming a waiver could actually result in higher net feeding costs for livestock and poultry producers. RFS cited a study, which found that if a waiver of the RFS did reduce biofuel output, corn price reductions would be partially or fully offset by increased prices for other feed ingredients like distillers grains (DDGS) and soybean meal.

“We don't believe a waiver would have much impact on ethanol production in the near term; but if a waiver did in fact reduce production, supplies of DDGS would also be reduced and prices would increase,” said RFA President Bob Dineen. “Clearly, the governors and the livestock and poultry groups supporting a waiver did not consider the impacts of a waiver on the prices for feed ingredients other than corn.”

EPA is expected to make a decision by Nov. 11. As of Thursday afternoon, the public submitted more than 3,770 comments. 


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