In comments submitted Thursday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Corn Growers Association asked the Agency to maintain the proposed amount of conventional ethanol blended into the nation’s gas supply for 2018, and to raise the amount of cellulosic, advanced, and total biofuels.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, NCGA President Wesley Spurlock writes, “In the 10 years since Congress expanded the RFS in 2007, corn farmers have responded to the growing market for ethanol, increasing production efficiency to help meet the RFS goal of moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, boosting production of clean, renewable fuels and protecting consumers.”
In its proposed rule for the 2018 standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, EPA proposed an implied volume of 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol in 2018, consistent with the level intended by Congress. This is a change from the previous four years, when EPA proposed conventional ethanol volumes below statute—which negatively impacted investment in the renewable fuels industry. A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the claim from NCGA and other petitioners that EPA erred in how it interpreted and used general waiver authority in setting volumes for 2014-2016.
However, EPA proposed a 73 million gallon reduction in cellulosic fuel volume and a 40 million gallon reduction in total renewable fuel volume for next year, compared with 2017. Spurlock urged EPA to reconsider and raise the volumes for cellulosic, advanced and total biofuels in 2018. This portion of the proposal takes implementation of the RFS law backward.
“We ask EPA to maintain the proposed conventional fuel requirement in the final rule. We also ask EPA to take a more forward-looking approach with stronger final volumes for cellulosic, advanced and total biofuels in order to draw the continued investment and innovation needed to support the ongoing expansion of cellulosic and advanced fuel production.”
A copy of NCGA’s full comments can be found here.