Renewable Fuels Association reacts to the EPA’s newest rules

The EPA’s latest round of rules is a step in the right direction towards putting the renewable fuels standard back on track, according to Renewable Fuels Association President, Geoff Cooper.

“We support their proposal to require 50 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol this year. That’d be the first time really ever that EPA has actually implemented and forced a true requirement for 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuels.”

They also support EPA’s proposal to deny pending refinery exemption requests.

“Those exemptions in the past have significantly eroded the renewable fuel standard requirements and so we were very pleased to see EPA moving to shut the floodgates on those waivers finally, and then. The last really positive attribute of these proposals, EPA is proposing to finally reinstate 500 million gallons of blending requirements that the agency illegally waived all the way back in 2016 under the Obama Administration.”

But Cooper says there are also concerns with the proposal, including plans to reopen 2020 RFS requirements to retroactively reduce volumes.

“Because of all these delays around the RFS, refiners still have not been required by EPA to prove that they blended the required amount of biofuels in 2020. So that requirement is still open in many respects, and if EPA goes back and lowers that requirement retroactively, then they are just rewarding those refiners that didn’t blend their required volumes in 2020.”

He says the decision would send the wrong signal to refiners and encourages the oil industry to resist change.

“As long as we have an RFS that is pushing for increased use of renewable fuels and less use of petroleum fuels, we’re going to continue to have these fights. We think the RFS itself is a good law. Congress knew what it was doing when expanded the program in 2007. The challenge is just been at EPA with implementation of the program and we believe if EPA would just follow the law and implement the program that congress gave it, we would be in good shape.”

In his testimony to the EPA, Cooper also noted the 2021 proposed volume of 13.3 billion gallons was less than the 13.7 billion actually used by consumers, which he says is a sign the EPA should revise volumes using more current data.

On Friday, the supreme court is also set to review the details of an appeals court ruling to eliminate year-round E-15 ethanol and decide if they want to take it on as a case.


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