In response to last week’s proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s to reduce the 2014 renewable fuels standard targets, NCBA says EPA took a “step in the right direction” but said it will be up to Congress to affect further change to renewable fuels policy in the United States. In this week’s edition of NCBA’s Beltway Beef audio report, Kristina Butts, NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs, explains NCBA’s position and next steps on this issue.

NCBA ready to work on ethanol policy reformThe proposal, which will be open for a 60-day comment period once it is published in the Federal Register, would reduce the renewable fuel obligations (RVOs) for key categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program. Rather than propose specific targets, the agency proposed ranges and a target within the range for each category. Specifically, EPA is seeking comment on the following proposed volumes:

Category

Proposed Volume a

Range

Cellulosic biofuel

17 mill gal

8-30 million gallons

Biomass-based diesel

1.28 bill gal

1.28 billion gallons

Advanced biofuel

2.20 bill gal

2.0-2.51 billion gallons

Renewable fuel

15.21 bill gal

15.00-15.52 billion gallons

aAll volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel which is actual

Butts says EPA’s proposed changes show there is flexibility within the RFS on the statutory side but said the changes do not go far enough. NCBA supports legislation in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would reform or entirely repeal the RFS. She says true reform needs to happen and added that NCBA will continue to work with members of both sides political aisle and in both chambers of Congress to bring reform forward.

This is not a new topic for the cattlemen. NCBA does not oppose ethanol, and Butts noted many NCBA members, especially those in corn-producing states, feed their cattle distillers’ grains, a by-product from ethanol production. The problem, she said, is with the government policy that dictates “the number-one user of corn” is ethanol before other users. Butts says this is a government policy that picks one industry over another and vows to work with Congress and other affected industries to “fix it.”

NCBA joined more than 20 other livestock organizations to comment on the proposed rule. The groups called on Congress to “find lasting reform” to this issue, and Butts says NCBA is ready to come to the table, debate the issue and find a workable solution.

Read the proposed rule.

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