EPA evaluating Texas request for RFS waiver

The US EPA said it needs more time to respond to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request for a 50% waiver from the federal renewable fuel standard mandate for corn-based ethanol.

Jul 22nd, 2008

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 22 -- The US Environmental Protection Agency said it needs more time to respond to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request for a 50% waiver from the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) mandate for corn-based ethanol.

The RFS, part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, requires increased national production of renewable biofuels to 36 billion gal/year by 2022 from 9 billion gal/year in 2008.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson said July 22 that a final decision on Perry's request cannot be completed yet "given the amount of work that remains." He expects to make a decision in early August.

Johnson said EPA employees need more time to respond to more than 15,000 public comments received on the issue and to develop a document that explains the technical, economic, and legal rationale of the pending EPA decision.

EPA also is consulting with the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy in considering whether to grant or deny the waiver request, Johnson said.

Perry said his request was prompted by concerns about "skyrocketing food costs."

In an Apr. 25 letter to EPA, Perry said, "Granting this waiver will provide all Texans much-needed relief at the grocery story, and it will enable the Texas livestock industry to continue providing its significant share of our nation's food supply."

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