Sioux Falls, SD – Tomorrow marks the 15-year anniversary of Congress enacting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program authorized under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) in 2007. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement on the overall success of the program over its 15-year history, but also the mismanagement of the RFS by the Environmental Protection Agency:
“Congress was right to enact the Renewable Fuel Standard because it has indeed resulted in cleaner air, lower priced fuel for motorists, and economic development in rural America. Since the RFS was signed into law, the ethanol industry has experienced improved market share and a growing number of co-products, as well as technology innovations that have driven efficiencies and shrunk the carbon footprints of plants. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency has turned the keys of the program over to refiners, who have taken the RFS on a joy ride which has limited the program’s upside potential.
“This is why in addition to constantly defending and protecting the RFS, ACE has been laying the strategic groundwork necessary to leverage ethanol’s low carbon value in the market through new clean fuel policies at the state and federal level.
“We will continue working to get the RFS back on track while also proactively promoting new clean fuel policy solutions to further benefit our climate, drivers, and rural economy.”
The Renewable Fuels Association thanked a bipartisan group of 32 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for calling on President Trump to reject so-called “gap-year” refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“The Trump Administration has now heard from Members of the House, Senators and Governors on this important issue for rural America,” said RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Even the Environmental Protection Agency itself has noted there are significant ‘issues’ with these waivers, and we urge a speedy denial of these attempts by the oil industry to circumvent federal law and the recent court decision limiting waivers to extensions of ones previously received.”
Cooper noted that, on June 25, a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. Senators called on EPA to reject the waivers, and on June 29, members of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition urged EPA to do the same.
The idea of retroactive refinery exemptions follows a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected a set of waivers granted by EPA that were not simple extensions of prior waivers. The lawsuit was brought against EPA by RFA, the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and the American Coalition for Ethanol.
Seeking to circumvent this court decision, several refineries have now applied for retroactive waivers for years in which they did not originally request or receive waivers. On June 18, EPA disclosed that 52 new petitions had been received, covering the compliance years 2011 through 2018. In late May, RFA was the first to urge Wheeler to deny any gap-year waivers that came forward.
“The RFS has been a tremendous success, providing a critical value-added market for our farmers, lowering the price of fuel for consumers, and improving air quality across the nation,” the Members of the House wrote in today’s letter. “The EPA’s repeated efforts to undermine the RFS with waivers, SREs, and tepid annual volume requirements continue to undermine the future potential of our local farmers and biofuels producers.”