The Environmental Protection Agency will likely delay its decision on whether to waive federal regulations requiring a certain quota of corn-based ethanol. Several states have urged the EPA to waive the requirements as a result of last summer's drought.
According to The Detroit News, 200 members of Congress and eight state governors have asked the EPA to roll back ethanol requirements mandate by President George W. Bush's Renewable Fuel Standard. The EPA was set to rule on the matter on Tuesday, but released a statement indicating its decision will likely be delayed.
"EPA is completing its review and analysis of the RFS waiver requests and the agency plans to reach a decision shortly," the agency said.
Not surprisingly, most corn-growing states have opposed the waiver. Several states in the Midwest, such as Michigan, have become dependent on the steady revenue generated by the Renewable Fuel Standard. According to the National Corn Growers Association, the average annual farm income has jumped from $63 billion to $90 billion since the law was enacted in 2007.
States without a vested interest in corn largely support the waiver. The recent drought has already forced up feed prices, and some fear the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard could drive prices even higher. In fact, the United Nations urged the Obama administration to suspend the Renewable Fuel Standard in August on concerns of global food shortages.
Per the terms of the law, the U.S. is required to use 15.2 billion gallons of ethanol this year, up from 5 billion gallons in 2007. By 2022 that figure will increase to 36 billion gallons, although 21 billion gallons of that figure are to be sourced from advanced cellulosic ethanol.