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RFA urges EPA ‘to faithfully and strictly enforce’ final 2019 conventional biofuel requirement without erosion from small refiner waivers

In response to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalised a rule that establishes the required renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2019, and biomass-based diesel for 2020, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) urges the EPA ‘to faithfully and strictly enforce’ final 2019 conventional biofuel requirement without erosion from small refiner waivers.

On November 30, 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2019. The agency finalized a total renewable fuel volume of 19.92 billion gallons (BG), of which 4.92 BG is advanced biofuel, including 418 million gallons (MG) of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves a 15 BG requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, consistent with the levels envisioned by Congress in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

While we are pleased that EPA finalized the statutory 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels and modest increases to the cellulosic and advanced biofuel categories, we note that EPA did not prospectively account for any small refiner exemptions that it expects to issue in 2019. Hopefully, that means EPA is not intending to issue any small refiner waivers at all in 2019 because it knows there is no rationale or basis for doing so, commented Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) urges the EPA ‘to faithfully and strictly enforce’ final 2019 conventional biofuel requirement without erosion from small refiner waivers.

We urge Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to faithfully and strictly enforce the 15-billion-gallon conventional renewable fuel requirement in 2019, rather than allowing the standard to be eroded through the use of clandestine small refiner waivers as former Administrator Pruitt did. Mr. Pruitt issued nearly 50 refinery waivers from 2016 and 2017 RFS requirements, including bailouts to companies like Chevron and Andeavor that recorded billions of dollars in net profits in those years. As a direct result of the exemptions, America’s ethanol producers and farm families have experienced demand destruction and are now facing the most challenging economics in years. In examining small refiner exemption petitions for 2018, 2019, and beyond, we implore Acting Administrator Wheeler to exercise the restraint and thoughtfulness that clearly eluded his predecessor, ended Geoff Cooper.

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