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US EPA and USDA announce agreement on biofuels promotion

"President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler on October 4, 2019, after he and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue successfully negotiated an agreement with President Donald J. Trump on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

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In the United States (US), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue have successfully negotiated an agreement with President Donald J. Trump on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The United States (US) Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. This program was authorized under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

In addition to the goals of increasing production of home-grown renewable fuels, the program supports domestic demand for farm commodities, increases farm income, and creates rural jobs.

President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation’s farmers and rural America. The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue a policy that promotes economic growth and supports our producers. Building on the success of the year-round E15 rule, this forward-looking agreement makes improvements to the RFS program that will better harness the production of our farmers and ensure America remains energy dominant, said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Under this agreement, the following actions will be undertaken by EPA and USDA:

  • In a forthcoming supplemental notice building off the recently proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021, EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020. EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion (US) gallons (≈ 56.78 billion litres) of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020 and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries. EPA “intends to take final action” on this front later this year. In the most recent compliance year, EPA granted 31 small refinery exemptions.
  • Building on the President’s earlier decision to allow year-round sales of E15, EPA will initiate a rulemaking process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.
    EPA will continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform.
  • USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends.
  • The Administration will continue to work to address ethanol and biodiesel trade issues.

The EPA also notes that since taking office in 2017, the Trump Administration has enacted tax and regulatory policies that have “helped make America energy dominant.” The Administration has cut “burdensome red tape” through deregulation, including signing a record number of Congressional Review Act (CRA) legislation, repealing the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, reforming the Section 401 process under the Clean Water Act, proposing a new methane rule, and “removing the US from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord”.

The Administration has also expedited permitting approvals, has opened up federal land for development, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and will continue to enact pro-growth energy policies to expand American energy dominance.

This is great news for Iowa and rural America. President Trump is following through on his commitment to our nation’s hardworking farmers and biofuels producers. The RFS is essential to the livelihoods of folks across our state, which is why I’ve been fighting tirelessly on behalf of Iowa’s farmers and producers every step of the way and making Iowans’ voices heard throughout this process. Our message was clear: uphold the RFS—15 billion means 15 billion. The president heard that message and has acted on it. The steps outlined today by the administration will help increase demand for our biofuels, provide certainty for farmers and producers for years to come, and ensure that EPA is implementing the RFS as it was written, said Senator Joni Ernst (IA).

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