Biofuels and oil industry go head-to-head at EPA’s RFS hearing

July 18, 2018 |

In Michigan, the biofuels and oil industries went head-to-head at the Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard proposed blending volumes for 2019 and 2020.

The American Petroleum Institute said until Congress fixes the broken Renewable Fuel Standard, the Environmental Protection Agency must protect consumers from higher ethanol blended fuels that threaten vehicle engines and fuel systems. ‘The primary RFS concern is the ethanol blend-wall,’ said Kelly. ‘Serious vehicle and retail infrastructure compatibility issues continue to exist with gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Three out of four cars on the road were not designed for higher ethanol blends like E15, and history demonstrates that motorists have largely rejected E85. API is urging EPA to not exceed 9.7 percent ethanol in the gasoline pool for 2019 to meet the strong demand for E0, or clear gasoline that continues to exist.

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) senior vice president Ron Lamberty detailed in ACE’s written comments to the proposed rule. The issues include: (1) EPA’s overall approach to enforcing the RFS; (2) conventional biofuels levels; and (3) the effective working of the RIN marketplace. ACE’s full comments will also address our concerns about cellulosic and advanced biofuel targets.

‘With the departure of the previous EPA Administrator, I hope EPA will take this opportunity to return to implementing the RFS as intended by Congress,’ Lamberty said. ‘Pruitt’s seemingly sole focus on helping merchant refiners ignore or skirt their longstanding obligations under the RFS has further shaken the rural farm economy while undermining Congress’ goal of increasing renewable fuel use in the United States.’

Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Government Affairs Samantha Slater said EPA’s 2019 RVO rule is an opportunity to correct the extensive damage done to demand for ethanol and America’s farmers by Scott Pruitt’s EPA.

“On the surface, the proposed rule raises the total 2019 RVO by 3 percent over the 2018 requirement, and maintains a 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional biofuels like corn ethanol. But due to EPA’s failure to stem the tide of small refinery waivers, its refusal to reallocate lost blending volumes, and its brazen repudiation of binding court decisions, the proposed rule is superficial and toothless, and undermines President Trump’s commitment on the RFS,” Slater testified.

The National Biodiesel Board and its members ask EPA to set the 2020 Biomass-based Diesel volume at 2.8 billion gallons, based on the agency’s own analysis in the proposed rule showing that volume is achievable next year. The agency must also reduce the uncertainty it has caused by issuing retroactive small refiner hardship exemptions, the industry told EPA staff.

Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), testified, “To provide the certainty that the biodiesel industry needs, EPA should raise the 2020 volume for biomass-based diesel to at least 2.8 billion gallons. That number better aligns with the goals that Congress set for the RFS program. And it will better fulfill the promise of the RFS program.”

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Category: Policy

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