Ethanol, biodiesel, and agricultural organizations were united in their message to the Environmental Protection Agency in comments to a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) that would further reduce overall biofuels volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – just no.
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), which was chosen to participate in EPA’s new Smart Sectors program, urged the agency to abandon proposed cuts to the RFS and engage in an open dialogue with the industry. “We believe that if EPA had the Smart Sectors program up and running prior to issuing the proposed renewable volume obligations for 2018 and the Notice of Data Availability discussing further reductions to those volumes, the Agency could have avoided much of the recent angst directed your way from Capitol Hill and the renewable fuels sector,” ACE executive vice president Brian Jennings in a cover letter to EPA with their comments.
The biodiesel industry is asking the agency to not only reverse course on proposed cuts, but increase biodiesel volumes substantially. Comments from the Iowa Biodiesel Board urge EPA instead to increase the advanced biofuel volume for 2018 in the final rule to at least 4.75 billion gallons, and increase the biomass-based diesel volume for 2019 to at least 2.5 billion gallons. The EPA proposed to set the 2018 RFS for advanced biofuels at 4.24 billion gallons, a decrease from 4.28 billion gallons for 2017, and the NODA suggests it should be revised even lower.
National Corn Growers Association president Kevin Skunes urged the EPA to not exercise any of the waiver authorities proposed in the NODA. “The further volume reductions summarized in the NODA would harm Congress’ energy and economic security objectives that motivated enactment of the RFS.”
Growth Energy and Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) filed joint comments. “The biofuel reductions in the NODA would pave a path that would reverse the progress of the Renewable Fuel Standard and undercut the benefits our nation is currently gaining from the RFS,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.