Congressional delegations from the nation’s top two ethanol producing states — Nebraska and Iowa — are asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to hold hearings on proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard in each of their states.
Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller says while he would like to have a hearing in Nebraska, he doubts it’ll happen.
“It might be beneficial but it may be difficult to get an accommodation by EPA,” Sneller says. “I think EPA’s view is likely to be that they were in Kansas City, they spent two days there and that should have provided everybody in the Midwest the opportunity to present testimony in person if they were inclined to do that.”
Sneller says the EPA needs to bring its RFS volume levels up to statutory levels, and if officials choose not to do that, he says the issue will likely end up in court.
“There’s a legitimate argument to be made by the biofuels sector that EPA has gone too far in their interpretation, and in fact, there’s no legal basis for their interpretations, therefore, the numbers they derived really shouldn’t stand a test in the courts,” he says, “but the American Petroleum Institute has a completely different view on that.”
Last week, the EPA hearing in Kansas City drew testimony from nearly 300 people. Most supported an increase in the volume levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard, not the cutback the feds propose.
There are 24 ethanol plants in Nebraska that produce a total of more than two-billion gallons each year. Nebraska is the nation’s #2 producer of corn-based ethanol, behind only Iowa.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton