The head of the federal E-P-A is expected to rule this week on a proposal that could bring a cut in ethanol production. Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson was among a group of U-S senators who met with E-P-A chief Stephen Johnson last week to express their support for the renewable fuel standard.
Senator Nelson says a decision from Johnson on a waiver request from Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected by Thursday or Friday, but they don’t know what that decision will be. Nelson says, “You couldn’t determine from his comments which way he was leaning but I think he understood very clearly that he would incur the wrath not only of the senators who were present at the meeting but of a number of others, including a number of governors who would feel quite different that Governor Perry.”
Nelson says if E-P-A does overturn the ethanol mandate or even cut it in half as requested by Perry, they will take all Congressional means necessary to overturn the action. Nelson says: “This is not something that can be permitted to happen. Perhaps the law was well-intended but the granting of the waiver would really have an adverse impact on the economy because you would not be able to continue to produce ethanol at the levels that are being produced and the plants that are being considered would be put on hold.” Nelson says he and his colleagues also told Johnson they weren’t happy he had had a private meeting with Texas Governor Perry.
Nebraska is the nation’s number-three ethanol producer, behind Iowa and Illinois.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton