News & Ideas

ACE Testimony Encourages EPA to Revise RFS Proposal to Support the Statute and Decarbonization Goals

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings testified today during a virtual public hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rulemaking for 2020, 2021 and 2022 compliance years.

Jennings’ testimony highlights how refiners lull EPA into helping them escape their legal responsibility to blend increasing volumes of renewable fuel. When viewed in isolation, certain provisions in the proposal are a positive shift away from EPA’s prior mismanagement of the RFS, but the proposal in totality neglects to emphasize the role grain-based ethanol can play in helping meet the administration’s decarbonization goals.

ACE is pleased EPA proposed a statutory 15 billion gallons for 2022 and put forth a plan to remedy the 500 million gallons in remanded volume by the DC Circuit Court in 2017. However, ACE strongly opposes EPA’s proposal to retroactively waive 2020 volumes and reduce 2021 volumes. As currently drafted, the proposal does not guarantee 15 billion gallons of low carbon ethanol will be used in 2022.

“… EPA’s ongoing obsession with maximum compliance flexibility for refiners means excess RINs can be used to meet future obligations instead of the physical blending of E15 and higher blends,” Jennings stated in his testimony.

The testimony also notes the legal dubiousness of retroactively and gratuitously reducing 2020 volumes below actual use. “This approach essentially shifts more of the pandemic burden from refiners to ethanol producers and farmers by allowing gallons already sold to be counted against 2022 volumes,” Jennings explained.

As the RFS is the only tool at EPA’s disposal to replace petroleum with low carbon alternatives, ACE’s written comments to the proposed rulemaking will underscore the need for EPA to send a meaningful signal that grain-based ethanol is considered part of the climate solution.

ACE thanks its board president Dave Sovereign representing Golden Grain Energy LLC, and ACE board members Rick Schwarck of Absolute Energy LLC and Richard Syverson representing the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, along with members Jeff Oestmann of Granite Falls Energy LLC and Jerry Calease for testifying today. EPA’s comment period on the proposed RVOs closes on February 4.

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