The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is "absolutely not" considering waiving the U.S. renewable fuels standard (RFS) due to drought conditions that have reduced corn production, Margo Oge, director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power on Tuesday.
Rumors of a potential RFS waiver have been circulating in the corn market for several weeks. During her testimony, Oge said she was aware of the rumors, noting "clearly there is concern that has been raised because of the drought."
Oge acknowledged that EPA has been in discussion with USDA the issue, but noted that while USDA has lowered its corn production forecast sharply, production is still expected to exceed last year.
EPA has "not seen any [RFS2 waiver] petitions to date," Oge continued, adding that the receipt of any requests would trigger a process including a 90-day comment period.
Regulated companies and state governors can petition EPA to waive renewable fuels obligations on grounds of "lack of availability... and significant cost impacts to the region or the state."