The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a marathon all-day public hearing last week on EPA’s proposed renewable fuels mandate. Over 140 individuals testified on EPA’s proposal released last month which would lower the requirements for renewable fuels blended in gasoline for 2014 from 18.15 billion gallons specified in the 2007 renewable fuel standard (RFS) legislation to 15.21 billion gallons. The proposal also cuts the corn ethanol requirements from 14.4 billion gallons to just over 13.0 billion gallons which is lower than the 13.8 billion gallons requirement for this year.
Representatives for renewable fuels, corn growers, livestock producers, oil, environmental, and consumer groups testified. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Peter Welch (D-VT) also testified. Both proponents and opponents of the proposed rule held press conferences prior to the hearing advocating their positions. Governor Branstad said, “The RFS has worked well and helped revitalize rural America.” He also mentioned the proposed rule “will drive up the price of gas for consumers as it drives down profitability for agriculture and cost us a lot of jobs.” The National Chicken Council told the press that “the 2007 RFS increased average annual feed costs for poultry producers by $8.8 billion.”