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ACE urges EPA to abandon RFS cuts

Sioux Falls, SD (October 19, 2017) – The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently proposed cuts to the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requesting EPA forgo the unprecedented changes, and in the future, utilize programs like Smart Sectors to have a dialogue with ACE and others prior to formal proposals that are not balanced with views from renewable fuels producers.

In a cover letter to ACE’s comments on EPA’s Notice of Data Availability (NODA), Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President, thanked EPA for the invitation to participate in the Smart Sectors program in the hopes of beginning an open dialogue about EPA’s implementation of renewable fuels regulations, while also encouraging its use to put forth balanced proposals that take into consideration the views of renewable fuel producers and U.S. farmers. 

“We believe that if EPA had the Smart Sectors program up and running prior to issuing the proposed renewable volume obligations for 2018 and the Notice of Data Availability discussing further reductions to those volumes, the Agency could have avoided much of the recent angst directed your way from Capitol Hill and the renewable fuels sector,” Jennings said. “We hope that the Smart Sectors program is a way to minimize this bias so that EPA does not find itself breaking President Trump’s public commitment to biofuels and in the crosshairs of Congressional leaders who feel EPA is not properly implementing renewable fuel policies.”

ACE’s NODA comments are summarized below:

  • Existing precedent regarding the “severe economic harm” criteria and definition of “inadequate domestic supply” in the general wavier authority compel EPA to reject pleas from oil refiners to waive RFS volumes as proposed.  In the strongest terms possible, we call on EPA to abandon the misguided lobbying of parties desperate to escape their legal obligations under the RFS and refocus on keeping the program on track.
  • Stripping renewable identification numbers (RINs) from imported renewable fuel and assigning RINs to exported renewable fuel violates the law and could precipitate a trade war.
  • A strong rural economy depends upon increasing renewable fuel volumes.
  • Reid vapor pressure (RVP) regulatory relief would help address RIN price volatility.
  • EPA needs to update the lifecycle greenhouse gas modeling of corn ethanol and should formally reject petitions to move the RFS point-of-obligation downstream.

“While the law doesn’t require EPA to consider reductions to RFS volumes, the Agency is required to comply with the D.C. Court of Appeals ruling in Americans for Clean Energy et al v. EPA to restore the 500-million-gallon shortfall to the 2016 RVO,” Jennings said. “We would like to engage EPA on how it intends to comply with this order and on how to provide RVP regulatory relief to gas station owners and consumers by allowing the year-round sale of E15.”

ACE’s Smart Sectors thank you letter is available here and NODA comments can be accessed here.

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