The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its draft proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2017 as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) yesterday and the biofuels industry is reacting to numbers that remain under statute levels. For first generation biofuels, that includes corn-based ethanol, the numbers were increased from 2016 but still remain 200 million gallons below what is required by law.
Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI) Chairman Jim Talent reacted to the proposed rules, “The Obama Administration’s proposed targets fall short of the goals for energy security that Congress outlined in the Renewable Fuel Standard. America’s domestic biofuels industry has already proven that it can surpass these targets, and our goal should be to maximize the renewable choices that consumers have at the pump. The EPA is moving in a positive direction, but we are leaving homegrown energy on the table, and that means more money and influence will flow to the foreign nations that seek to manipulate the global oil market.” (Click here to read Jim Talent’s full statement.)
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who has been a vocal opponent of the RFS stated, “While the RVO numbers released today allow for some growth in the renewable fuels levels included in our nation’s fuel supply, unfortunately they don’t meet the levels passed with bipartisan support in Congress and continue to use questionable justifications for not meeting those required levels. The EPA’s proposal starts another comment period, so it is important that Iowans take advantage of that opportunity and voice their support for the renewable fuels industry that is so important to our state.”
Pointing to the connection between reliable implementation of the RFS and achievement of the Administration’s climate goals, the National Farmers Union (NFU) stated, “Farmers and ranchers understand the impacts that climate change has on our planet, our environmental resources, and our ability to feed a growing world population. The investments made in renewable fuels and advanced biofuels have helped bridge a divide between our current environmental impact and the climate goals set forth by the Administration – goals that we cannot meet without the participation of our family farmers and ranchers. The oil companies have had plenty of time to build out the distribution infrastructure to deliver more biofuels to the consumer and commercial markets that seek this environmentally-friendly energy source. They have simply refused to do so, and EPA’s negligence in adhering to the statutory levels has significantly undermined the plan laid out by Congress in 2007.”
Novozymes said the proposal acknowledges crucial role of biofuels with higher blending volumes but still lets obligated parties off hook. “While President Obama is pushing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on one hand, today’s proposal still allows the oil industry to pollute with carbon-intense fuels on the other. The only way the world will switch to renewable energy is if bold leaders make it happen,” said Adam Monroe, President, Americas. “The private sector is taking bold action: Investing millions of dollars in cutting emissions with our technology, turning biomass into biofuel and building facilities, like our $200 million enzyme manufacturing plant in Blair, Nebraska. We urge the Administration to be bold too, and get back to the original intent of the RFS. Other countries are already capitalizing on our lack of clarity.”
Retired Major General Paul D. Eaton, senior advisor to VoteVets focused on the energy security benefits of biofuels. “Biofuels are an extremely important component of an energy future where America gets off fossil fuels. Our dependence on oil drives up demand and prices, benefiting hostile regimes, whether we buy oil directly from them, or not. Getting off oil is a matter of national security. We continue to watch for signals from the White House and EPA that they will do all they can do to support a strong Renewable Fuel Standard, that gets America off oil, and makes us more secure.”
Pro-environment, pro-renewable fuels advocacy group Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse responded, “While we continue to believe that it’s vital in the long term to end oil’s ability to control renewable fuel volumes through waivers, it’s evident this draft rule is a significant step forward towards reducing our nation’s reliance of dirty fossil fuels given Big Oil is already throwing a hissy fit over it and regurgitating their debunked myths about ethanol. The RFS has been American’s most successful clean energy policy of the last decade: curtailing carbon emissions by 34-88 percent, reviving rural economies, supporting over 850,000 jobs, and saving consumers billions of dollars at the pump. But while it’s a step in the right direction, we need to get back to the statutory levels. During the upcoming comment period, the EPA will hear loudly and often from a broad spectrum of voices about how it will be even better for the economy, environment and national security to get the RFS fully back on track to the levels mandated by Congress.”