Corn growers disappointed in EPA’s RVO rule and waivers


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations for the 2020 conventional biofuels requirement at the statutory level of 15 billion gallons under the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, the EPA’s actions mean very little if they continue destroy ethanol demand through the use of Small Refinery Exemptions.

“We are frustrated the EPA did not account for potential waived gallons going forward in the proposed rule,” said National Corn Growers Association President and Nebraska farmer Lynn Chrisp. “If the EPA continues to grant retroactive waivers, the RVO numbers are meaningless and the EPA is not following the law. Farmers are facing a very tough economic environment and the continued waiver abuse chips away at farmers’ bottom line.”

Since early 2018, the EPA has handed out an unprecedented number of exemptions to small refineries across the country, effectively destroying more than 2.7 billion gallons of ethanol demand resulting in the destruction of nearly 1 billion bushels of corn demand. There are currently 38 pending petitions for 2018.

EPA also failed to uphold the D.C. Circuit Court’s 2017 ruling, requiring the Agency to account for 500 million gallons it improperly waived in 2016. “There is no reason for the EPA to not account for those gallons,” Chrisp added. “It appears the EPA continues to favor big oil and not uphold the RFS. This narrative is getting old. It is time for the EPA to follow the law to ensure the waivers do not destroy volume requirements.”

NCGA thanks U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and his team at USDA for their continued support and work on this issue. Perdue has been instrumental in making sure the voice of the American corn farmer is heard.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volumes of biofuels that must be used for transportation fuel for four categories of biofuels: total, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass-based diesel. 

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