Ethanol organizations Growth Energy and American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) have issued statements condemning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed biofuel targets for 2020.
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said the EPA’s proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) includes no mechanism to offset refinery exemptions that consistently undercut federal blending goals, disrespects the court’s decision on the 2016 RVO and fails to approve millions of gallons of current cellulosic biofuel production from kernel fiber technology.
“It’s unconscionable that EPA continues to undermine the president’s commitment to a strong rural America,” said Skor. “The 2020 RVOs are a drop in the bucket compared to the demand lost due to a flood of refinery exemptions. Unless EPA restores demand destroyed through secret handouts to oil giants like Exxon and Chevron, these targets offer nothing but another year of lost opportunity and rural hardship. Making matters worse, EPA chose to flout the 2017 court ruling requiring the agency to revisit 500 million gallons of biofuel that were inappropriately waived. Today’s proposal is a slap in the face to the farmers dealing with the toughest years on record.”
Under the proposal, conventional ethanol would hold steady at 15 billion gallons, while advanced biofuels would see a slight uptick to 5.04 billion gallons, including 540 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. Biodiesel targets, which are set two years in advance, were proposed at 2.43 billion gallons for 2021.
ACE CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement on the proposal:
“While EPA says it is proposing to maintain the 15-billion-gallon conventional biofuel blending target for 2020, refinery exemptions without reallocation of waived volumes have effectively reduced the RFS by more than 2 billion gallons below statutory volumes. President Trump asked EPA to remedy this issue following his trip to Iowa a few weeks ago and this proposal is a missed opportunity to reallocate the 2.61 billion gallons waived through Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).
“It’s also a missed opportunity to restore the 500-million-gallon shortfall the D.C. Circuit Court ordered EPA to handle following the Americans for Clean Energy et al v. EPA lawsuit, which recently resigned EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation William Wehrum told ACE members EPA intended to address in the 2020 proposed rule at our D.C. fly-in in April.
“EPA continues to disregard President Trump’s campaign promise that ‘the EPA should ensure that biofuel blend levels match the statutory level set by Congress under the RFS.’ Like the 2019 blending targets, the 2020 proposed RVOs reinforce our challenge to certain SREs in Court and petition for EPA to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive SREs that continue to be granted by the agency.
“A strong rural economy depends upon growing the use of renewable fuels. We expect the administration to follow through on the promise that EPA and USDA will review the expanded use of refinery waivers and deliver a satisfactory remedy.”