Corn Growers, NFU, Growth Energy submit RFS comments
On the last day that the Environmental Protection Agency is accepting comments on the volumetric requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2019, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union and Growth Energy, a renewable fuels lobby group, today urged EPA to make sure that at least the full 15 billion gallon volume for conventional ethanol will be used next year.
“The rule proposes an implied 15-billion-gallon volume for conventional ethanol but fails to account for, nor consider comments on, retroactive exemptions granted to refineries,” NCGA said in a news release.
“To uphold the full clean air, cost-savings, energy independence, and rural economic benefits consumers and farmers receive from the RFS, EPA must also use the 2019 volume rule to make and keep the RFS whole,” NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes said.
NCGA noted that EPA disclosed the agency granted retroactive exemptions to 48 refineries for 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations, amounting to 2.25 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons, but stated the agency is not soliciting comments on how to account for exemptions going forward to prevent exemptions from lowering RFS volumes.
“While EPA may not want feedback on how the agency is failing to maintain the integrity of the RFS and administer the volume standards in accordance with the law, corn farmers will provide that feedback nonetheless and make our voices heard,” NCGA’s comments state.
“The process for accounting for these volumes is central to the integrity of the RFS, and it is offensive to farmers that EPA does not believe our comments on this issue are worth soliciting and considering.”
“As family farmers navigate a severely depressed farm economy, this is a time the administration should be raising expectations for a policy that drives America’s rural economy,” National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said.
“We urge the administration to increase proposed volumes for the RFS in 2019 and to reject any calls to further reduce the volumes.”
“On its face, this is a strong proposal with a 15-billion-gallon commitment to starch ethanol and a significant increase in cellulosic biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.
“However, the proposed RVO has failed to account for the 2.25 billion gallons lost due to small refinery exemptions. By failing to account for these exemptions, EPA has made the numbers hollow turning the clock back on the RFS by 5 years.”
“With ag demand at a 12 year low, America’s farmers and producers need the proposed RVO targets for 2019 set and met earnestly,” Skor continued. “I hope the new leadership at the EPA reverses course and gets back on the path of blending more gallons of homegrown renewable biofuels and increases domestic grain market demand through the year-round sale of higher octane blends, such as E15.”
–The Hagstrom Report