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WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the nation's ethanol producers that he's reached out to EPA chief Gina McCarthy and White House officials to make sure they understand the importance of their industry before going through with plans to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The EPA in November issued a proposal to lower the RFS requirement for 2014 by 16 percent, from the initial congressional mandate of 18.15 gallons of ethanol and biodiesel for blending into gasoline to 15.21 billion gallons. The plan is now undergoing interagency review at the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Vilsack said he's asked McCarthy to carefully review the 15,000 comments the proposal has generated from stakeholders and the public, many of which argue that corn-based ethanol has lowered the cost of gasoline, is good for the environment, reduces the country's dependence on foreign energy, and helps create jobs.