The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and corn farmers have repeatedly come under attack from major oil companies and the EPA, including the most recent approval of 31 additional RFS exemptions for oil companies, reducing corn demand for ethanol and increasing total waived biofuels demand to 4.04 billion gallons under the Trump Administration. Today’s announcement that the EPA will reopen the rulemaking for the 2020 RFS volumes and propose to account for waivers in the volume requirements allows EPA to follow the law and restore integrity to the RFS.
The National Corn Growers Association welcomed the announcement from President Donald Trump directing the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the RFS whole.
“We’re very grateful the President listened to our concerns and is upholding his commitments to put the RFS back on track,” NCGA President Kevin Ross said. “Corn farmers weren’t shy in telling the President that the impact of these waivers would lead to significant consequences for farmers, folks working at ethanol and biodiesel plants, and the countless other rural jobs that depend on this market.”
Earlier this year, Ross joined Trump at an Iowa ethanol plant and pressed that he address the impact waivers are having on the RFS. NCGA has advocated that the EPA use its available tools to account for expected waivers in the annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking so that waivers do not reduce the RFS volumes. The EPA, to date, had ignored these calls and the clear requirement of the law, refusing to take steps to keep the RFS whole or even consider comments pertaining to waived gallons in RVO rulemakings.
“The President is finally telling the EPA that enough is enough, they must follow the law, and we appreciate that,” Ross said.
Under this agreement, the following actions will be undertaken by EPA and USDA:
- In a forthcoming supplemental notice building off the recently proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021, EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.
- EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.
- EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year.
- In the most recent compliance year, EPA granted 31 small refinery exemptions.
- Building on the President’s earlier decision to allow year-round sales of E15, EPA will initiate a rulemaking process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.
- EPA will continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform.
- USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends.
- The Administration will continue to work to address ethanol and biodiesel trade issues.
Jeff Broin, POET Chairman and CEO said, “President Trump’s announcement today has reaffirmed his commitment to farmers and rural communities and marks a great victory in the Renewable Revolution. The President’s actions will restore integrity to the RFS — starting with the 2020 RVO levels — and help pave the way for the rollout of E15, creating a huge win for farmers, biofuel producers, and consumers alike. Millions of Americans will see greater savings at the pump and have the freedom to choose climate-friendly, American-made E15, while our nation’s farmers will see increased demand for their grain at a critical time.”