ACE Reaction to Long-Awaited RFS Announcements
Posted on 12/07/2021
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a package of actions, including proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years and retrospective volumes for 2020, a plan to implement the 500 million gallons in remanded volumes by the DC Circuit Court in 2017, as well as how the Agency plans to move forward on RFS small refinery exemption (SRE) waiver requests.
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty issued the following reaction to EPA’s package of proposals:
“Despite being one of the most important tools available to replace petroleum with low carbon alternatives such as ethanol, today’s proposed rule misses an important opportunity to meet the Biden Administration’s decarbonization goals for the transportation sector. Instead of insisting on renewable fuel volumes required under the law, EPA’s novel approach to its authority results in the foot being taken off the decarbonization accelerator to let petroleum companies determine how much ethanol they wanted to blend in 2020 and 2021. This is not the way to drive low carbon transportation fuel alternatives quickly.
“Further, while we appreciate that EPA is proposing to return corn ethanol blending levels to 15 billion gallons in 2022 as well as proposing a path forward to restore the 500 million gallons of remanded volume as ordered by the DC Circuit Court in 2017, and rein-in the abusive use of SRE waivers pioneered under the last Administration, the proposal falls short of deploying the RFS in a manner that fully takes advantage of expanding the use of low carbon ethanol, which according to the latest lifecycle science reduces greenhouse gas emissions on average by approximately 50 percent compared to gasoline.
“The RFS is an exceptionally well-written law with provisions written into it to deal with even the devastating volume loss experienced in 2020 and 2021. Each year’s volume is converted to a percentage, so renewable fuel volumes automatically rise or fall based on actual fuel sales. By reducing the 2020 percentage and 2021 volumes EPA is essentially shifting more of the pandemic burden from refiners to ethanol producers and farmers, and allowing gallons already sold to be counted against 2022 volumes, extending the pain into another year. EPA is missing the mark on using the RFS to the fullest extent.
“Our comments on this rule will reflect on EPA’s novel interpretations of its waiver authority and will encourage EPA to take a second look at this proposal to better support low carbon biofuels and take actions to help grow demand for biofuels that benefit rural America as well as the Administration’s decarbonization goals.”