IRFA Says Ignoring Court Ruling Dashes Biofuels Trust in EPA

Contact: Cassidy Walter

JOHNSTON, IOWA – Today at the EPA hearing on the proposed 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blend levels, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw made clear if EPA blatantly ignores a court order to restore 500 million gallons illegally cut from the 2016 RFS blend levels, American farmers and biofuels producers will lose all faith in the Trump EPA to act fairly.

In 2016 EPA illegally lowered the RFS blend levels against the clear letter of the RFS law as passed by Congress. Biofuels interests sued the EPA, and the U.S. D.C. Circuit Court ordered EPA to restore the 500 million gallons. In its recently proposed RFS rule for 2020, EPA said it does not intend to follow this court order.

“The EPA should not effectively thumb its nose at the other two branches of our federal government,” Shaw said. “Quite frankly, it’s hard to fathom such a blatant disregard of the Administration’s constitutional duties. If the EPA is so cowed by the petroleum industry that biofuels cannot get a square deal on an issue so completely black and white as the 2016 remand, then no farmer in America should ever again expect to get fair treatment from the Trump EPA. If this stands, I have no faith the EPA will be a fair and neutral arbiter on the more complex issues, such as annual blend levels, refinery exemptions, and the pending RFS reset rule.”

Shaw also emphasized the bleak economic environment biofuels producers currently face due to markets stunted by RFS exemptions and trade wars, noting that one Iowa ethanol plant recently halted production.

“When I talk to the employees of the shuttered ethanol plant and they ask “why?” I have no satisfactory answer,” Shaw said. “I can only tell them that actions speak louder than words. And that the actions proposed by the Trump EPA in this rule are designed to keep the biofuels industry underutilized, unstable, and unprofitable.”

Shaw concluded that EPA can still reverse course and follow the law.

“It is not too late to do what’s right,” he said. “I urge you to fix this rule before it becomes final.”

To view Shaw’s full prepared comments, click here.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association represents the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry and works to foster its growth. Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production with 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 4.5 billion gallons annually – including 34 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity – and 11 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 400 million gallons annually. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: