American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings thanked rural leaders for the recent announcement about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), following White House discussions with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The EPA said it is seeking comment on actions to ensure that the statutory volume for conventional biofuel is met by prospectively accounting for waived volumes beginning in 2020, as well as initiating a rulemaking to “streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.”
Jennings issued the statement below following the announcement:
“Because this plan is short on details and the final outcome is dependent upon a new rulemaking process, it’s unrealistic and premature for me to conclusively praise it at this stage. Instead, my sober assessment of the good and bad in this plan, based on the few details we currently have to work with, is as follows:
“It’s good the President is directing EPA to account for future Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) beginning in 2020 to ensure more than 15 billion gallons is blended under the RFS next year. We are grateful for this step in the right direction, but it isn’t a special deal, it is the White House finally directing EPA to follow the law. We will carefully examine how EPA proposes to offset future SREs in the supplemental rulemaking and will submit comments to shape an outcome to get the RFS back on track starting with the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). Of course, this implies EPA will continue issuing SREs in the future, likely following the recent pattern whereby an average of 30 small refineries were allowed to escape blending obligations. The difference is hopefully those blending obligations will be reallocated to non-exempt refiners going forward as required by law.
“Speaking of reallocation, it’s bad that the Trump Administration is doing nothing to reallocate the more than 4 billion gallons of RFS blending obligations waived for refineries from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 compliance years. These 85 waivers combined with the trade war and weather-related disasters have taken a terrible economic toll on rural America. It’s unfortunate our only remaining remedy is our joint litigation in the DC Circuit Court. It’s also disappointing the plan appears silent on whether EPA will finally restore 500 million gallons to the RFS as ordered by the DC Circuit Court. Our comments to the supplemental 2020 RVO rulemaking will encourage EPA to comply with the court order.
“Most importantly, I want to thank the farmers, biofuel producers, and elected leaders for speaking out about the need for the Trump Administration to reverse the damage done through EPA’s abuse of the SRE provision of the RFS. Your vigilance and grassroots leadership will be necessary to help achieve a positive outcome in the upcoming rulemaking process.”