ACE’s Request to Raise 2020 RVO Added to the List of Missed Opportunities for EPA to Do Right by Rural America
Posted on 07/02/2020
COVID-19’s ethanol demand destruction on top of EPA’s through RFS missteps leaves biofuel producers and farmers in economic turmoil
Sioux Falls, SD (July 2, 2020) – The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings today expressed his disappointment in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking no action to follow through on ACE’s request to issue an interim final rule by July 1 to increase the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for 2020 to the percentage necessary to ensure that the full 20.09 billion gallons required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are used due to the unanticipated drop in ethanol blending as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This was one of three immediate steps Jennings outlined in an April 3 letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler that also urged the Agency to restore the 500 million gallons of remanded volume as ordered by the DC District Court in 2017 and nationally apply the Tenth Circuit Court precedent regarding small refinery exemptions by denying most of the pending waivers for the 2019 RFS compliance year. The Agency not only has the authority to take these steps but must take them to avoid being in violation of the RFS statute which specifically instructs EPA to set the total RVO at a level that ‘ensures the requirements’ of the statutory obligations are met. Jennings issued the statement below following ACE’s July 1 requested deadline:
“When I wrote EPA in early April, it was evident ethanol demand was heading for trouble, so we spelled out three immediate steps existing law or court decisions allowed EPA to take to help cushion the blow. Nearly three months have passed on our requests and it appears the only action EPA has taken is to entertain 52 ‘new’ retroactive waiver requests for refiners suddenly claiming economic hardship dating back nearly a decade in RFS compliance years.
“We can add this to the list of letdowns coming from the Agency with so many opportunities at its disposal to get the RFS back on track.”