Refining Group Chief: 'King Corn' Wins with Latest RFS Volumes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday finalized a rule that keeps mandated renewable fuel volumes under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program at the status quo.

As it is, the final rule represents only a slight increase in most volume requirements, with cellulosic biofuels taking a cut of 33 million gallons from its 2017 level.

The EPA, which is required to announce the volumes targets on Thursday, did not immediately comment.

"Today, the EPA has upheld their commitment to set the volume requirements for conventional ethanol for 2018 approved levels, and I am pleased that this administration is keeping its pledge to rural America to support the RFS", Ernst said.

Grassley, Ernst, King, Young, and Loebsack all ended their statements with an emphasis on their continued commitment to advocating for and defending the Renewable Fuel Standard and the USA biofuel industry.

The cellulosic biofuel amount, although higher than the initial July proposal at 288 million gallons, still is lower than the 311 million gallons that it was set at for 2017. While we would have liked to see a larger increase, we consider this a crucial win - signaling a policy of continued RVO growth under the Trump administration.It would have been even better if EPA continued that policy of growth with the 2019 Biomass-Based Diesel RVO as we advocated.

Nevertheless, Dinneen remarked that the EPA could have done more.

Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst, the junior Republican from Iowa, were among several midwest lawmakers who threatened to hold up Trump's EPA nominees if he scaled back the Renewable Fuel Standard.

National Biodiesel Board chief operating officer Doug Whitehead says the industry is disappointed in the final numbers but optimistic moving forward "to right this wrong for future volumes".

The Iowa congressional delegation isn't entirely happy with the EPA's 2018 final fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard program, but they say it'll have to do. With starch-based biofuels remaining at full volumes, Americans will continue to benefit from cleaner air by replacing harmful cancer causing chemicals in gasoline, and stronger energy security by offering homegrown fuels that cost less.

"Since the RFS was instituted more than a decade ago the USA has greatly reduced its dependence on crude oil imports", Macchiarola explained.

"The EPA's announced renewable volume obligations fall short of the full potential of the US biofuels industry", said Sen. Frank Macchiarola, downstream group director for the American Petroleum Institute, said the U.S.is now producing more oil domestically, making the RFS a program "trying to solve a problem that no longer exists".

  • Jon Douglas