Since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, there has been a nationwide renewable fuels standard (RFS) in the U.S. The amount of biofuels required by the bill were increased by the Energy Independence and Security Act in December of last year. As we all know, the economic realities of corn ethanol have been quite the topic of discussion since then, and the state of Texas is looking to take advantage of a provision of the the 2005 Energy Policy Act that allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change the RFS "if implementation of the RFS would severely harm the economy or environment of a state, region, or the entire country, or if EPA determines that there is inadequate domestic supply of renewable fuel." An economic hit is exactly what Texas governor Rick Perry is worried about, and wrote a letter to the EPA on April 25 asking the Agency to halve the nationwide renewable fuels standard mandate (2008, the RFS is nine billion gallons). The EPA is accepting comments for 30 days here and will decide within 90 days of the April 25 receipt. Read the EPA's call for comments after the break.
EPA Seeks Input on RFS Waiver Request
EPA is seeking comments on the state of Texas's petition to reduce the volume of renewable fuel required to be used in motor vehicles and other engines. In an April 25, 2008 letter to EPA, Governor Rick Perry asked EPA to halve the nationwide renewable fuels standard (RFS) mandate for the production of ethanol derived from grain, citing adverse economic impact due to higher corn prices in Texas. EPA is publishing a Federal Register notice opening a 30-day comment period on the request. The RFS mandate for 2008 is the equivalent of 9 billion gallons.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the RFS program, and volume levels were increased in the Energy Independence and Security Act, which was signed into law in December 2007. The 2005 energy law also included provisions enabling the EPA Administrator to grant a full or partial waiver if implementation of the RFS would severely harm the economy or environment of a state, region, or the entire country, or if EPA determines that there is inadequate domestic supply of renewable fuel. In consultation with the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, EPA must decide on a waiver request within 90 days of receiving it.
To view the waiver request and Federal Register notice seeking comment, go to: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/index.htm