This year’s drought has seriously reduced corn yields but the EPA says “tough.” Requests for waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard have been turned down by the agency which says the EPA has “not found evidence to support a finding of severe ‘economic harm’ that would warrant granting a waiver” to states.
Opponents of the RFS say drought-driven spikes in corn prices and reduced harvests should prompt the agency to relax the requirements, which require refiners to blend billions of gallons of ethanol into gasoline.Livestock, poultry and food industry groups dismayed at the amount of corn used for ethanol have joined states in calling for EPA to back off the ethanol mandate. EPA also faced congressional pressure to ease the requirements.
But EPA tossed aside their arguments.
“We recognize that this year’s drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA’s top air regulator, in a statement. “But our extensive analysis makes clear that Congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact,” she said.
The ethanol industry applauded EPA’s decision.