Biofuels Advocates Testify at EPA Hearing

Cindy Zimmerman

Biofuels advocates brought their concerns about damage to the industry caused by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to a hearing on the proposed 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Wednesday in Michigan.

The proposed rule raises the total 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) by 3 percent over the 2018 requirement, and maintains a 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional biofuels like corn ethanol, but does nothing to address the 2.25 billion gallons worth of small refinery exemptions granted by EPA in the past year under the leadership of Pruitt who resigned July 5.

“The numbers themselves are good, but those numbers are meaningless if you’re going to waive billions of gallons (of biofuels),” said Growth Energy Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley, who testified on behalf of the organization.

In its proposed rule, the agency declined to accept comments on the controversial waiver program or Reid Vapor Pressure restrictions on E15, but that did not stop ethanol stakeholders from bringing it up in comments. “We thought that was absolutely absurd,” said Bliley. “There’s no way they can’t take comment. This is a public forum and people can comment as they wish.”

In this interview, Bliley also says they are hoping Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler “provides a fair forum for biofuel producers and for farmers.” Interview with Chris Bliley, Growth Energy, on EPA hearing testimony

In her testimony, Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Government Affairs Samantha Slater said the proposed rule is “superficial and toothless and undermines President Trump’s commitment on the RFS.”

“Administrative cuts to the RFS have resulted in significantly lower RIN prices, reduced corn and ethanol demand, avoided legal obligations for highly profitable businesses, and provided windfall profits for certain oil refiners,” said Slater. “The final rule should do less to cater to the whims of the oil industry in implementing the nation’s renewable fuel program, and more to create demand for ethanol, lowering prices at the pump for consumers and creating economic opportunities for farmers across the country.”

Listen to Slater’s testimony here: RFA testimony on EPA 2019 RVO proposal

Representatives of the biodiesel industry testified today at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Public Hearing for Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020.

Executives from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and its member companies are asking EPA to set the 2020 Biomass-based Diesel volume at 2.8 billion gallons, based on the agency’s own analysis in the proposed rule showing that volume is achievable next year. The agency must also reduce the uncertainty it has caused by issuing retroactive small refiner hardship exemptions, the industry told EPA staff.

Listen to testimony from NBB chair Kent Engelbrecht of ADM and NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. National Biodiesel Board testimony on EPA 2019 RVO proposal

Audio, Biodiesel, Biofuels, Ethanol