The EPA hosted its annual hearing on next year’s biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Several farm and biofuel industry leaders submitted testimony on the hearing.
John Linder, Ohio farmer and board member of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)
“The proposed rule we are discussing today allows retroactive refinery exemptions to continue to destroy demand for renewable fuels. In addition, the proposal ignores the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision that EPA improperly waived 500 million gallons in 2016. … These volumes are meaningless amid EPA’s massive expansion of retroactive refinery waivers. Farmers have no confidence EPA will ensure these volumes are met – which the law requires – because EPA fails to account for projected waivers in this proposal.”
Chris Bliley, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Growth Energy
“Once again, the proposal assumes that despite exempting at least 190 million gallons of biofuel every year since 2013, that there will be ZERO gallons exempted in 2020. If EPA is going to waive billions of gallons, it must properly account for those gallons in the RVO calculation, so that demand-loss is not borne by biofuel producers and America’s farmers. … Ethanol plants have closed, employees have been laid off, trade has been cut, all on top of farmers’ crops being devastated – and EPA claims it is too difficult for refiners to blend 500 million gallons of biofuel as the law requires. What kind of signal does that send to farmers? What message does that send to companies seeking to invest in American biofuels? It speaks volumes.”
Scott Richman, Chief Economist of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA)
“Unfortunately, the market has no faith that the proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations will result in biofuel blending volumes consistent with the RFS standards set by law, including the 15-billion-gallon conventional renewable fuel requirement. It is a misnomer to call the numbers in the proposal ‘obligations’ as long as small refinery exemptions (SREs) continue to transform the RFS into a voluntary program for roughly one-third of the nation’s refineries. … Congress gave EPA the direction and tools necessary to enforce the statutory RFS volumes. That includes prospectively redistributing volumes from SREs to non-exempt parties. It also includes complying with a court order to restore illegally waived volumes from 2016. We urge EPA to do both in the final rule.”
Shai Sahay, Senior Regulatory Counsel for POET
“Over the course of 2019, cellulosic RIN values dropped approximately 50 percent. The decreased RIN values not only threaten investment in future cellulosic technologies, but also undermine investments that companies like POET have already made. To stop this trend, EPA must revise its cellulosic assessment methodology for 2020 to account for much faster cellulosic growth than last year. … EPA’s 2020 RVO proposal, the continued issuance of illegal small refinery waivers, and insistence on unreasonably large RIN banks will further depress RIN prices and undermine the RFS. Nonetheless, we hope that EPA will correct course and properly administer program that is important to the President and key to America’s energy future.”
James D. Carstensen, Federal Government Affairs Manager for DuPont
“The misuse of small refinery waivers in just 2016-2017 has eroded more than 2.6 billion gallons of renewable fuel demand. Those waivers have single-handedly set back a great American industry by at least five years – rolling back the RFS to 2013 levels. EPA has single-handedly been responsible for crushing margins in the U.S. biofuels industry, reducing product demand of America’s already struggling farmers, forcing hardworking American families to spend $1.3 billion more at the pump in 2018 and losing a decarbonization opportunity that comes with the 2.6 billion demand destruction of a renewable resource which delivers between 34 percent and 43 percent fewer greenhouses gas emissions over that of unblended fossil fuel.”
Judd Templin, Communications Director of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association
“Alarmingly, this year U.S. ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years. To date, SREs have cut 2.6 billion gallons of renewable fuel blending and nearly 1 billion bushels of corn demand. That demand destruction is causing severe financial strain on Ohio ethanol producers and farm families – who already face difficult times due to trade wars overseas and catastrophic weather events here at home. Ethanol producers across the Midwest are being forced to slash production, idle, or shut down.”