WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020. The proposal would set required biofuel use at 20.04 billion gallons next year, a marginal increase over this year’s 19.92 billion gallons. The difference is almost entirely attributable to an expansion of cellulosic biofuel, from 420 million gallons to 540 million gallons. The rule maintains the current 15 million gallon target for corn ethanol.
The RFS, which is intended to drive investments in American-grown biofuels, is an important mechanism for creating market opportunities for farmers, vitalizing rural economies, establishing energy independence, cutting fuel costs for consumers, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, the ongoing misappropriation of RFS small refinery exemptions to multinational corporations has eliminated demand for biofuels by 2.6 billion gallons, thus undermining the efficacy of the program.
National Farmers Union (NFU), a strong proponent of biofuels and the RFS, has repeatedly urged EPA to account for the damage caused by the waivers. NFU President Roger Johnson expressed disappointment that EPA failed not only to factor the lost demand into its proposed RVOs but to increase biofuel use at all.
“This is yet another setback in a long string of setbacks for homegrown biofuels and the American family farmers who grow them. At every turn, EPA and this administration have undermined the intent of RFS and destroyed demand for billions of gallons of ethanol. We were hopeful that the RVOs would finally offset the enormous losses we’ve seen over the past several years due to the rampant abuse of hardship waivers. Unfortunately, this announcement indicates that EPA has no intention of righting this particular wrong in a timely manner.
“Time and time again, President Trump has promised to support the biofuels industry and increase demand for American farm products. Family farmers have waited long enough for him to make good on those promises. It is long past time for his administration to do so by halting the misallocation of exemptions and accounting for the lost gallons in the finalized RVOs.”