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ACE Comments Urge EPA to Maximize on Opportunity to Increase Renewable Fuel Volumes for 2023-2025

Today, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed multi-year Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2023-2025 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years. ACE CEO Brian Jennings highlighted areas of support in the proposal, while detailing how to adjust the rule to maximize this significant new phase of the RFS to ensure the overall goal of the program is left intact — to increase the percentage of renewable fuels consumed in the U.S.

ACE supports EPA proposing:

  • An “effective” conventional biofuel requirement of 15.25 billion gallons for 2023 through 2025;
  • To restore the final 250-million-gallon remedy as a supplemental requirement for 2023;
  • The multi-year nature of the Set rule because it provides market participants certainty to plan for the future;
  • No Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) for 2023 through 2025; and
  • To update its antiquated greenhouse gas (GHG) model assumptions and methodology in the future.

ACE objects to EPA:

  • Suggesting it may retroactively waive blending levels established by this rulemaking;
  • Proposing an “alternative approach” to reduce conventional biofuel blending for 2024 and 2025 and expressing doubt about the ability for higher blends of corn-starch ethanol to play a primary role in helping fulfill the residual or implied conventional biofuel targets of the RFS; and
  • Breaking precedent by giving Tesla and other vehicle manufacturers the ability to generate eRINs when all other RINs are generated by the producer of the renewable fuel.

ACE encourages EPA to:

  • Revisit its overly conservative ethanol blending projections evidenced by data from the EIA indicating the concentration of ethanol in U.S. gasoline set a record level of 10.5% during the summer of 2022;
  • Ensure any increase to advanced volumes be accompanied by a corresponding increase in total renewable fuel in the final rule;
  • Adopt GREET for its lifecycle modeling, consistent with what Congress required of Treasury in the Inflation Reduction Act 45Z clean fuel production tax credit;
  • Require stronger traceability and verification standards to avoid fraud and abuse of eRINs;
  • Prioritize approving corn kernel fiber pathway registrations in 2023; and
  • Take swift action on a plan by several governors to enable year-round access to E15 in their states.

“Ethanol can and should be an even bigger part of the solution to climate change, and we are encouraged by statements from you and USDA Secretary Vilsack that biofuels and agriculture will have a seat at the table as the Biden administration determines how to achieve the ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions in the U.S. by midcentury,” Jennings wrote. “We are particularly encouraged by new funding provided to USDA through the IRA to scale the deployment of climate-smart farming practices and demonstrate the link those practices have on reducing GHG emissions from products such as biofuels.”

In the comments, Jennings shares details on ACE’s USDA-funded project, in partnership with lop land-grant scientists and Sandia National Lab, to document and validate the benefits of climate smart practices on the carbon intensity of corn ethanol. “EPA’s proposal rightfully notes climate-smart agriculture practices can measurably reduce corn ethanol’s carbon intensity,” Jennings adds.

ACE’s full comments can be accessed here. Nearly 70 advocates utilized ACE’s Action Center to also submit comments to the Agency.

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