“There is clear direction from congress,” Ernst says, “and the EPA continues not to follow the original intent of the law.”
On Wednesday, federal officials announced just under 19 billion gallons of renewable fuels should be produced next year. The law congress passed in 2007 calls for that level to be five billion gallons higher.
“I am very, very disappointed with the EPA’s decision to reduce volume requirements for conventional biofuels,” Ernst says.
Under the EPA’s pronouncement, half a billion more gallons of corn-based ethanol will be produced next year, far less than advocates had hoped. Under the new EPA rules for next year, there will be a 73 percent increase in production of cellulosic ethanol — that’s ethanol made from plant materials, like corn stalks. However, production of corn-based ethanol will continue to dwarf cellulosic ethanol production.