EPA, USDA announce agreement on promoting biofuels
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statements after President Donald J. Trump successfully negotiated an agreement on the Renewable Fuel Standard:
“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 EPA Administrator Wheeler. “Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers.”
“President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation’s farmers and rural America,” said USDA Secretary Perdue. “The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue 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.”
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 gallons 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 National Corn Growers Association welcomed an announcement from President Trump directing the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard whole.
The RFS and corn farmers have repeatedly come under attack from big oil and the EPA, including the most recent approval of 31 additional RFS exemptions for oil companies, reducing corn demand for ethanol and increasing total waived biofuels demand to 4.04 billion gallons under the Trump Administration, according to a news release from the NCGA. Today’s (Oct. 4) announcement that EPA will reopen the rulemaking for the 2020 RFS volumes and propose to account for waivers in the volume requirements allows EPA to follow the law and restore integrity to the RFS.
“We’re very grateful the president listened to our concerns and is upholding his commitments to put the RFS back on track,” NCGA President Kevin Ross said. “Corn farmers weren’t shy in telling the president that the impact of these waivers would lead to significant consequences for farmers, folks working at ethanol and biodiesel plants, and the countless other rural jobs that depend on this market.”
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.