Growth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore biofuel demand lost to oil industry handouts in comments on the agency’s final 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO). Due by November 30, the RVOs will determine next year’s biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“The president made a ‘giant’ promise on ethanol, but rural communities cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “More biofuel plants are closing their doors with each passing week, and farm families have run out of options. The EPA must take immediate action to restore lost demand under the 2020 biofuel targets and repair the damage from abusive refinery exemptions granted to oil giants like Exxon and Chevron.”
In written comments to the EPA, Growth Energy noted that the EPA’s secretive exemption process violates the letter and spirit of the RFS, which Congress adopted to promote growth in U.S. biofuel production.
“EPA’s proposal actively encourages blending less, not more biofuel,” wrote Growth Energy. “By maintaining the status quo of an unaccounted number of exemptions, EPA would permit the oil industry to revert to its 2013 level of usage and still achieve compliance. This is entirely illogical and unlawful. At this point, it is fair to say that EPA is destroying the RFS program. The overwhelming problem is EPA’s misguided and unlawful handling of compliance exemptions for small refineries. After initially allowing, through 2015, the number of exemptions granted each year to naturally dwindle, as intended, EPA has completely reversed course and suddenly begun granting dozens of exemptions covering billions of RINs, while providing no acceptable explanation as to why…”
“EPA’s radical escalation of small refinery exemptions, coupled with its refusal to require that exempt volumes be made up, have thwarted Congress’s intent and effectively exempted the RFS program out of existence,” added Growth Energy.
In July, Growth Energy’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley testified before EPA officials at a field hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan on the proposed RVO targets. Read Bliley’s full testimony here.