The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its the final Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The rule has increased the conventional biofuels category that includes corn ethanol, to 15 billion gallons per year, up from 14.8 billion proposed back in May. With the news, the biofuels industry has come out to applaud the EPA.
“As more ethanol was blended with record-high consumption of gasoline this year, ACE urged EPA to increase the 2017 implied conventional biofuel volume to the statutory level of 15 billion gallons and we are very pleased EPA has agreed to do so,” said Brian Jennings, the executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE). “For the last couple of years, EPA has unfortunately sided with oil companies and refiners instead of rural voters to ‘ride the brakes’ on RFS blending volumes, relying on excuses such as the make-believe E10 ‘blend wall’ and lower gasoline use to reduce renewable fuel use below statutory levels. But we are supportive of the move to increase volumes for 2017 without a ‘blend wall’ excuse. U.S. gasoline use is expected to rise again in 2017, so increasing RFS volumes will help restore some confidence to the rural economy and reassure retailers that it makes sense to offer E15 and flex fuels like E30 and E85 to their customers.”
“Nevertheless, we remain opposed to EPA’s misapplication of the RFS general waiver authority to use ‘infrastructure constraints’ as an excuse to limit renewable fuel use below statutory levels for 2014, 2015, and 2016, which is why we are party to Americans for Clean Energy et al. vs EPA, a lawsuit pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. We look forward to the Court taking up our case early in 2017 and deciding in our favor.”
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said in a statement that the organization is looking forward to working with the EPA along with the Trump administration on further implementation of the RFS. She also stated, “We are pleased that the EPA’s rule finally achieves the statutory volume for conventional biofuel as called for by Congress. The Renewable Fuel Standard is our country’s most successful energy policy. It continues to inject much needed competition and consumer choice into the vehicle fuels marketplace. It enables greater consumer adoption of cleaner biofuels that displace toxic emissions and reduce harmful emissions, while creating American jobs, spurring innovation and lowering the price at the pump.
Today’s announcement by the administration validates the critical importance of cleaner burning, less expensive biofuels, like ethanol. The American ethanol industry is a true success story, and with increased volumes, producers can unleash their full potential to ensure that higher blends, such as E15, are available to consumers and producers can continue to innovate by leveraging 21st century fuels for 21st century cars.”
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) also thanked the EPA for raising the biofuel volumes in 2017. Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said in a statement, “Today the EPA moved in the right direction by increasing the 2017 ethanol volume to statute. This is critical for farmers facing difficult economic times, as well as for consumers who care about clean air, affordable fuel choices, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil. The Renewable Fuel Standard has been one of America’s great policy success stories. It has improved our energy independence, our air quality, and our rural economies….
Moving forward, we call on the EPA to continue following the law and keep the RFS on track. Doing so will bring much-needed stability to the marketplace, providing greater certainty for farmers and the industry while also spurring increased investment in renewable fuels.
Together with both public and private sector partners, NCGA will continue working to grow our national fuel infrastructure so that consumers have greater access to renewable fuels. America’s corn farmers are proud to grow a cleaner-burning, renewable fuel source for America and the world. Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact the EPA in support of the RFS and renewable fuels.”
“Today marked the last chance for the Obama Administration to get the RFS back on track,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “In a dramatic return to their roots, they chose to uphold the law and, in doing so, boosted fuel competition, consumer choice and rural America. The RFS ethanol volumes announced by the EPA today mean higher income for farmers and lower prices for consumers. They mean more jobs in rural Iowa and less dependence on foreign oil. This is the type of RFS support that the Obama Administration pledged eight years ago. There was a bit of a detour, but this final action restores the RFS as a powerful tool to crack the petroleum monopoly.”