Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 09/25/12

RFS Rolling Out Campaign on Biofuel Benefits

Responding to a growing political view that the country would be better off with a "more flexible" Renewable Fuels Standard, the biofuels industry is countering with a new campaign that will be announced later this week.

The Renewable Fuels Association issued a press advisory on Tuesday alerting everyone of the announcement. "In the face of new attacks on America’s Renewable Fuel Standard, stakeholders from across the nation will announce a major new campaign to protect the benefits of renewable fuel to America’s economy, energy security and environment.

RFA added, "The new campaign will show the breadth of support for America’s renewable fuel policy at the national and state level. Its launch comes as calls to halt or delay the Renewable Fuel Standard threaten the communities and innovators benefiting directly from advanced and conventional renewable fuel."
The campaign rolls out following a study released earlier this month by the Energy Policy Research Foundation Inc., or EPRINC, "Ethanol's Lost Promise," which stated that a short-term waiver of the RFS would have little effect on corn demand. A longer-term waiver, which EPRINC puts at two or three years, "would allow for a proper assessment of the nation's crop situation, provide end-users with a stable planning environment, and permit refining operations to adjust fuel output."

A longer-term waiver would likely reduce corn prices, EPRINC stated, providing economic benefits through lower feed and food prices.…

To suggest the EPRINC is influenced by the oil and gas industry is, well, a minor understatement. Just look at the background of EPRINC staff.…

Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jim Costa, D-Calif., also co-wrote a piece last week in the Hill further criticizing ethanol and stating that the RFS needs to be overhauled.

"While not the only cause of rising corn prices, the demands of meeting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) during these drought conditions is stretching our corn supplies thin. In order to provide much-needed relief for the animal agriculture industry, food producers, and consumers, it’s critical that we make our ethanol policy more flexible," the lawmakers wrote.…

Five states have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the RFS. The public comment period ends Oct. 11, adding another reason for the biofuels industry to roll out its campaign. A decision is expected around Nov. 13, which also happens to be when Congress returns for its lame-duck session.

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN.

Posted at 7:58PM CDT 09/25/12 by Chris Clayton
Comments (8)
If everyone would quit wasting essentials, this problem would solve itself, regardless of their energy source.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:04AM CDT 09/26/12
Livestock producers are hurting, but I think instead of killing ethanol we should be looking for ways that compensate livestock producers. Markets driven by huge packers and milk processors will not compensate even if supply is in check. We must move back to modern parity system that has producers and consumers in mind. This could be a win for our whole economy, fuel through food. The big corps dont like this because they have total control of who makes money and how much. That's why they want total chaos in market, which allows them to feast on equity from many producers. Just another redistribution from a once prominent animal ag producers. Look around , everywhere you see empty livestock enterprises , beacause of the master scheme.
Posted by Frank Thomas at 7:50AM CDT 09/26/12
Hemp, Algae and Miscanthus can be used much more efficiently than corn to make Biofuel. Millions, if not billions know this, so why do we persist in using corn? There are plenty of food markets, not to mention the still largely underdeveloped "Farm-To-Local" Market touted by Secretary Vilsack. If it IS about "Feeding the World" as the big Ag Corporations keep proclaiming, then it is time to explore these other options. (Interestingly, Monsanto has invested heavily in Algae to Biofuel Development.)
Posted by Ric Ohge at 10:06AM CDT 09/26/12
Ethanol, frack gas, deep oil drilling, Canadian tar sands,,,, all are extreme measures to make up for our dwindling oil supply. $100 barrel oil is not going away no matter what policies we have and with China and India wanting to put millions of their people in cars neither the fuel supply or the environment can handle it. As for Bonnie's statement she should know that capitalists believe that if they have the money they should waste whatever they wish, if you have the money so what? Saving so others have some is socialism, redistribution of wealth. The next year will be a year we actually feel the effects of "peak oil" and what it means to not have enough. Poor nations will have a hard time watching their people starve while we run our cars on their food supply. Americans don't want to deal with reality, instead we elect politicians that tell us what we want to hear not what we need to hear which is oil is very finite,,,, only Jimmy Carter said that and look what happened to him. When you tell people to put on an extra sweater and turn down the thermostat, drive a fuel efficient car and save so everyone can keep warm,,,, well you better be lookin for another job!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 6:50AM CDT 09/27/12
Waiving the RFS would hurt cellulosic ethanol production way more than the better established corn ethanol industry. The thermal-chemical process used for cellulosic ethanol has struggled to become an efficient process and that's why we are not receiving the amounts of that ethanol we originally expected. Cellulosic ethanol plants are receiving huge government subsidies (money that the government doesn't have) because they struggle to figure out how to operate efficiently. With huge government subsidies, why wouldn't Monsanto jump in head first?! Let's also keep in mind that cellulosic ethanol doesn't return a nutritous livestock feed. DDGs are a feed that essentially cuts the acres needed for corn ethanol in half. Also, consider that the livestock that are fed DDGs are food for people. Let's also not forget that corn ethanol cuts the wholesale price of gasoline by $1.09 in 2011 and .68 in 2010 saving Americans billions of dollars at the pump. Throw in RINs, jobs, and billions of dollars plus lives lost defending Middle East oil and the anti RFS agenda is penny wise, pound foolish!!
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:08AM CDT 09/27/12
Anyhow my electric car the Leaf has so far 5600 fossil free miles on it since April 2 with no ethanol or mideast oil, only my homegrown solar electricity,,,,, enjoy your fracking gas!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 2:32PM CDT 09/27/12
You mean there was no fossil fuel used to make and deliver your car? That's something. We should be burning every gallon of Mideast oil possible. The quicker they run out of oil and money the better. Bet that won't be for 100 years or more. They been telling us for 50 years we out of oil.
Posted by Frank Thomas at 5:40PM CDT 09/27/12
5600 miles since April. What a waste.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:55AM CDT 10/02/12
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