Today’s RFS Proposal Another Missed Opportunity

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IRFA: Increased Driving, Record Supplies, Wider Availability Should Direct EPA to Raise Proposed Levels in Final Rule

JOHNSTON, IOWA – Following today’s release of proposed blending levels under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) called the proposal another missed opportunity.

“Today’s proposal represents yet another missed opportunity for consumers, energy security and rural America,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw.  “While we’re pleased with the timing of the announcement, getting the RFS back on track should mean more than meeting calendar deadlines with numbers that simply memorialize what is already happening in the fuel market. It should mean getting the RFS back to pushing against the entrenched petroleum monopoly and increasing consumer access to cleaner-burning, homegrown renewable fuels.”

Today, the EPA proposed capping the corn-based ethanol portion of the rule at 14.8 billion gallons, below levels prescribed by Congress under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The total Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for the 2017 RFS is proposed at 18.8 billion gallons.

“The proposed corn-based ethanol level for 2017 is below what was already produced in 2015, and it doesn’t match the current reality of the nation’s fuel sector. Low fuel prices have spurred increased driving habits, the USDA is projecting a historic excess supply of corn, and the number of stations offering fuel blends above E10 will dramatically increase this year through the USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership,” added Shaw.  “All of these signs direct the Agency to stick to 15 billion gallons for corn-based ethanol, as prescribed by Congress.”

The EPA proposed a total of 4 billion gallons for the advanced biofuel portion in 2017, including 312 million gallons for cellulosic ethanol (proposed today) and 2.0 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel (finalized in last year’s rule). Also included today was biomass-based diesel levels for 2018, proposed at 2.1 billion gallons.

“Today’s proposal did provide some much-needed certainty for the biodiesel industry looking forward, but the proposed levels for 2018 are roughly equal to what we’ll use this year, and they still did not account for the slew of foreign imports we’re currently seeing.  The EPA’s proposal should be a formula for growth in advanced biofuels, not an enshrinement of the status quo,” said Shaw.

“We are looking forward to the upcoming public comment period on this proposal so we can ensure Iowans’ voices are heard and work with the EPA to boost the RFS to levels that will not only strengthen consumer choice, energy security and a cleaner-environment, but will also cut into the petroleum monopoly,” Shaw concluded.

Following the official publishing of the proposal in the Federal Register, the EPA will open up a 60-day public comment period. As of this release, the rule has not yet been published. To view the EPA’s full proposal, please click here.

According to a recent IRFA study, Iowa’s renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $4.6 billion of Iowa GDP, generates $2.3 billion in income for Iowa households and supports more than 43,000 jobs throughout all sectors of the Iowa economy.

Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production.  Iowa has 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4 billion gallons annually, including nearly 55 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity.  In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry.  The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.

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For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: www.IowaRFA.org