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ACE: States’ RFS waiver request illegitimate, fuel demand drop already waiving blending volumes and EPA must adjust RVO upward

Sioux Falls, SD (April 16, 2020) – In response to governors of five U.S. states requesting a nationwide waiver exempting oil refiners from their Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending obligations due to the coronavirus, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings pointed out that ACE’s letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month provides the counterpoint — EPA must adjust the percentage of renewable fuel volume obligated parties must use in 2020 upward to offset the nosedive in gasoline use as a result of coronavirus, otherwise EPA will be violating the RFS statute which amounts to an illegal waiver of blending volumes. Jennings released the following statement in reaction:

“Not only should EPA dismiss the oil-state governors’ RFS waiver request, the Agency should act swiftly to increase blending obligations in 2020 because the economic fallout from COVID-19 is destroying demand for ethanol below statutory levels. ACE’s recent letter to EPA highlights the disingenuousness of the governors’ RFS waiver request. Unless and until EPA increases the percentage of renewable fuel volume obligated parties must use in 2020, it is already handing oil refiners a nationwide waiver illegally. Apparently, even this is not enough of an assault on farmers, ethanol producers and rural America.

“EPA has no other choice than to reject this most recent ploy to further waive the RFS based on precedent from previous waiver appeals in 2008 and 2012 which require EPA to determine that the RFS itself must be proven to be the cause of severe economic harm to justify a waiver, not outside factors such as coronavirus or a drought. The RFS is clearly not the cause of the economic catastrophe brought on by coronavirus and the Saudi-Russian oil price war, and the oil industry should direct its blame elsewhere.

“We remind the Administration that oil refiners are not the only ones suffering from the economic fallout of the current situation. Ethanol producers, and the farmers supplying them corn, are suffering a proportional economic disaster. EPA should in fact do the opposite of the governors’ request and issue an interim rule to increase the RVO for 2020 to the percentage necessary to ensure that the full 20.09 billion gallons required by law are used.”

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