Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller Tuesday questioned the Environmental Protection Agency's interpretation, and authority, to waive the national Renewable Fuel Standard, except when there is an inadequate supply of renewable fuels, but not blended fuel.
Miller made his comments at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association's eighth annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona. His comments were teleconferenced.
Noting he had filed comments with the EPA regarding the RFS, Miller noted the potential impact on Iowa farmers and ethanol plants as well as what he sees as an "enormous benefit in terms of the environment." He also questioned the EPA's legal standing to waive the RFS.
"The EPA does not have the legal authority to reduce the standards enacted by Congress," said Miller. If there were an inadequate domestic supply of corn for ethanol, Miller said the EPA could reduce the standards. However, he said supplies were adequate. "There's a huge amount of corn," said Miller.
Miller said that while the House version of RFS legislation included both supply and distribution in its original language, the Senate struck the language regarding distribution. He said the interpretation of the RFS should deal with just supply of ethanol itself.
"We think that this is the correct interpretation of the law," said Miller.
In a question-and-answer session that followed, Miller said the next step would be up to the EPA. "Our hope is that they change their position."
Miller said if a lawsuit is filed against the EPA on the matter, he would consider having Iowa enjoin. At this point, he said there was no joint effort by states to stop the EPA from waiving the RFS.
"No there is no coalition of states and there doesn't need to be," said Miller.
According to the EPA website, the original RFS program required 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into gasoline by 2012.
Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS program was expanded in several key ways, including expanding the RFS program to include diesel, in addition to gasoline.
The EISA also increased the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022.