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Ag groups disappointed in EPA; Growth Energy intends to sue

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The U.S. Environment Protection Agency has not issued its 2021 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), raising concerns that the RVOs will not be updated until the next administration takes office. Growth Energy submitted a notice of intent to sue letter to the EPA regarding its failure to fulfill its statutory obligation to issue the 2021 RVO by November 30th, 2020. The notice from Growth Energy gives the EPA 60 days to issue the 2021 RVO before risking a lawsuit in federal court.

Every year, the EPA is required to set the RVO so that biofuel and fossil fuel companies understand their total renewable fuel blending obligations for the following year. Failure to set the RVO undermines the RFS and could lead to uncertainty in the market and lower than necessary biofuel blending levels.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “Biofuel producers faced a difficult year in 2020, with fuel demand plummeting to 30-year lows at a historic rate. At its lowest, over half the country’s biofuel plants were forced to slow down or idle, and many have still been unable to come back online. As we head into a new year and our industry continues to try and recover from the effects of COVID-19, EPA’s failure to meet their statutory obligation to issue RVOs piles on the uncertainty in the fuel marketplace. The Agency needs to take action on behalf of rural America and follow through with its RFS obligation.”

Growth Energy is not the only organization disappointed in the EPA. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew condemned the EPA’s inaction and pressed the agency to rethink its approach.

“By punting a decision on 2021’s RVOS to the next administration, EPA is introducing yet more uncertainty to the biofuels industry ­– uncertainty that most farmers and biofuels producers can’t afford right now. Despite promising again and again to uphold RFS, the Trump administration has consistently undermined the program with its misappropriation of small refinery exemptions, preferential treatment of oil corporations, and disregard for its legal responsibility to restore lost demand, all of which has cost America’s farmers and biofuel producers dearly. To add insult to injury, fuel use — and, consequently, ethanol use — has dropped significantly during the pandemic, cutting deeply into profits.”

You can read Growth Energy’s letter here.

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