EPA announces it will not further reduce biofuel volumes in 2018

Guardian Energy, Janesville, Minnesota

Update to original story:

Following the reversal of proposals that would undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), 64 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives asked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to reconsider his support for the RFS in a letter earlier this week. The group representing primarily oil producing states has requested to sit down with the current White House Administration to discuss what they deem is a flawed program that leads to job losses for oil refiners. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have held up the confirmation of  USDA nominee Bill Northey to persuade the EPA to reconsider proposals that negatively affect the RFS.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association will continue to monitor this situation and work with legislators to uphold the RFS.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last week his agency will no longer be moving forward on recent proposals that could potentially undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and hurt the biofuels market.

In a letter to U.S. senators representing Midwest states, Pruitt outlined he would set RFS volumes at or above levels outlined in the draft Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule by the Nov. 30 deadline. The public comment period on the draft RVO rule closed on August 31. You can read Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) comments here.

Pruitt also announced the EPA would reject a recent petition to change the point of obligation from refiners and importers to blenders. And in closing, he said the EPA would explore a nationwide Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for E15 and other midlevel blends, allowing for year-round sales.

The announcement came on the final day of an EPA-issued comment period on a Notice of Data Availability, which solicited public comment on various proposals that could further reduce RFS volumes for 2018 and 2019. MCGA submitted comments in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association that outlined concerns related to further reductions of overall RFS obligation, and specifically a 73-million gallon reduction for the cellulosic volume target.

Cellulosic biofuels are often made from dried distillers grains (DDGS) and corn residue. DDGS are a secondary product of ethanol production from grain and a strong potential market for the nation’s corn supply.

You can read the full comments on the Notice of Data Availability here.

In his letter, Pruitt expressed his commitment to upholding the RFS in a way that reaches the program’s full potential. You can read the full letter here.

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