Agency Needs More Time on Texas RFS Waiver Request

Given the amount of work that remains to sufficiently answer the Texas request for a waiver from the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it is now clear that a final decision on the request will not be completed by July 24.

According to a July 22 press release, the agency needs additional time to allow staff to adequately respond to public comments and develop a decision document that explains the technical, economic, and legal rationale of the decision.

In late April, Texas requested a waiver from the RFS. Shortly after receiving the request, EPA initiated a public comment during which the agency received more than 15,000 comments and a number of these comments raised substantive issues and included significant economic analysis, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson explained. "I believe it is very important to take sufficient time to review and understand these comments in order to make an informed decision. EPA is also required to consult with the departments of Agriculture and Energy in considering whether to grant or deny the waiver request and has begun these consultations."

The process remains fair and open and no agreements have been made with any party in regard to the substance and timing of the decision on the waiver request.

Johnson added, "I am confident that I will be able to make a final determination on the Texas waiver request in early August."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry had appeal to EPA because skyrocketing corn prices have damaged Texas' livestock and poultry industries this year.

"The Renewable Fuels Standard has distorted the market and has imposed severe economic harm on companies in our industry through dramatically higher input costs and is imposing harm on the general public in the form of higher prices for food products," Bill Roenigk, senior vice president of the National Chicken Council, said during a June 24 press conference. "We urge the EPA to grant the waiver requested by Governor Perry."

Flooding, a smaller corn harvest, ethanol production, and high prices have combined to raise feed prices, which has translated into higher prices for beef, pork, and dairy products.

The waiver seeks to reduce Texas' RFS mandate from 9 billion to 4.5 billion gallons blended into the national fuel supply.

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