Oil and ethanol supporters build up campaigns as EPA finalizes RFS

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014- The American Petroleum Institute (API) released a letter it sent to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging EPA to maintain a lower ethanol requirement as it reviews and finalizes its 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposal.

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API said the total ethanol blending requirement should be capped at 9.7 percent of total gasoline consumption.

"Given the uncertainties in gasoline demand projections, continued consumer demand for gasoline with no ethanol and very limited demand for E85 fuel, a 9.7 percent limit represents the minimum 'buffer' warranted to safeguard against the negative economic consequences for consumers from hitting the ethanol blend wall," said Bob Greco, API's downstream group director, in the letter sent Tuesday.

"As we explained in comments to the 2014 proposal, the overwhelming majority of vehicles and refueling infrastructure have not been certified or warranted for ethanol blends above 10 percent,” the letter continued.

In November, EPA proposed to cut total biofuel blending from 18.15 billion gallons specified for this year in the 2007 legislation to 15.21 billion gallons. The measure also would drop the corn ethanol requirement from 14.4 billion gallons to a little more than 13 billion gallons.

McCarthy noted in recent weeks that the final rule will likely be changed from the proposal, indirectly implying that it would include higher ethanol levels. “Gasoline demand had an impact in the proposal and it will also be reflected in the final rule,” she said. 

API's Greco also announced today a new TV, radio, and online ad campaign that will run in Washington, DC, next week.

“The ads will urge EPA and the White House to follow through with the proposal and cut back on ethanol mandates to protect consumers from the impending blend wall,” he said.

The progressive Americans United for Change and VoteVets.org launched a dueling campaign Wednesday criticizing API's ties to Saudi Arabia's state owned national oil company, Saudi Aramco.

While API doesn't include Saudi Aramco on its membership list, that list does include ‘Saudi Refining, Inc.,' which is a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, the Americans United for Change stated in their announcement Wednesday.

“API's agenda is very simple and very greedy: they want EPA to cut the amount of renewable fuel in gasoline while raising the amount of crude oil. This is about market share, plain and simple,” said Brad Woodhouse, President of the Americans United for Change.

In a separate campaign launched earlier in April, Fuels America coalition members, including the National Corn Growers Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Monsanto and others, released "Oil Rigged" television and digital ads and a website to defend the RFS.

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