Tag Archives: rfs

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) has submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed supplemental rulemaking to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).


On Oct. 15, the EPA released the details of its RVO proposal, which fails to ensure the RFS is upheld and continues to allow the EPA to blatantly abuse Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs). Despite earlier promises from the Trump administration that the EPA would reallocate SREs in 2020 based on the average of actual gallons waived from 2016 to 2018, the agency’s proposed approach fails to account for its previous shortfalls and does not ensure 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending will occur in 2020.


“Many farmers have had it! Multiple ethanol plants have stopped production. In addition, months of unfruitful promises from the EPA and Trump administration have left the ethanol industry where we started ­– suffering,” said Jan tenBensel, NEB Chairman and a farmer from Cambridge, Nebraska.


This tumultuous battle has caused a lot of distress throughout the industry, impacting ethanol producers, farmers, and investors eager to see the success of ethanol, which will in turn improve air quality and boost the economy. NEB maintains that it wants to see the EPA make up for the destruction that has occurred and to set safeguards into place that will ensure SREs are only granted to refineries who truly prove economic hardship.


“We need to have a relationship with the oil industry, which is what the RFS was intended to be when it was established many administrations ago,” said NEB Administrator Roger Berry. “We do not want to see the demise of the oil industry. Our world has not yet reached a point where we can be independent of oil. What we want is to work with them to make a sustainable future powered by a healthier fuel. If we continue to ignore the dire need to clean up our air with the addition of biofuels in our fuel, we are going to put ourselves into a world of hurt. This goes beyond pocketbooks for us. The success of the ethanol industry is important for the future of the world we ALL live in – not just farmers, ethanol producers, and environmentalists.”    


Regardless of the EPA’s decisions, the NEB urges the public to continue supporting ethanol. There are many simple ways to do this:

·         Submit your own comments to the EPA.

·         Create demand by continuing to use ethanol and asking others to as well. Buy flex fuel vehicles. If you are a dealership, sell more flex fuel vehicles. 

·         Share with friends and family how and why you support ethanol. Are you a corn farmer? Do you work in an ethanol plant? Do you fill up with ethanol? Ask us for a free ethanol performs bumper sticker!

·         Stay in the know. The ethanol industry is not going away. There is constant policy work being done to see its success, and there are organizations working to increase its availability. Read up on ethanol regularly and become an advocate.

·         Educators – make ethanol part of your curriculum by exploring agriculture, science, and clean air initiatives.

·         Ethanol producers – work with fuel retailers to make selling higher ethanol blends easier.

·         Fuel retailers – empower your patrons to help our environment and economy all while saving a few bucks by simply filling up with higher ethanol blends at the tanks. You can do this by educating your employees and patrons about the benefits of ethanol, and selling ethanol blended fuels.

WASHINGTON –The National Farmers Union is asking for more transparency in light of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs), the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change within the Committee on Energy and Commerce today hosted a hearing on how those exemptions have undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the American biofuels industry.

Under the RFS, 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and 2.4 billion gallons of biodiesel are required to be blended into transportation fuel. However, EPA has waived that requirement for 85 oil refineries over the past three years, a rate quadruple that of the previous administration. As a result, the amount of corn ethanol and biodiesel in the transportation sector during that time has been under the benchmark, amounting to a cumulative 4-billion-gallon decline in demand. Nearly 30 ethanol and biodiesel plants have consequently halted production.

In addition to soliciting feedback on the waivers’ implications, the subcommittee is also considering H.R. 3006, a bill that would set an annual deadline of June 1 for small refineries to petition for an exemption from the upcoming year’s volume requirements as well as require public disclosure of any information included in those petitions.

National Farmers Union (NFU) Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew submitted written testimony to the subcommittee, emphasizing the damage inflicted by the waivers and urging them to support H.R. 3006.

“The EPA’s flagrant mishandling of small refinery exemptions has caused considerable harm to the biofuels industry. Family farmers have lost millions of dollars of hard-earned income, hundreds of rural Americans have lost their jobs, and rural communities across the country have lost local businesses that have contributed to economic growth.

 “If that weren’t enough, EPA provided no warning or justification whatsoever for its rapid expansion of waivers, creating significant market volatility and uncertainty. We strongly urge the subcommittee to minimize this uncertainty and prevent the abuse of exemptions in the future by supporting H.R. 3006, which would increase transparency and predictability in the exemption granting process.”

The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a hearing today to discuss the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers. Since early 2018, EPA has granted 85 RFS exemptions to refineries, totaling 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. Refinery exemptions under the Trump Administration have totaled nearly six times more gallons than those under the previous Administration.


The hearing also included discussion on the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 (H.R. 3006), legislation supported by NCGA that would set a deadline for refineries to apply for RFS waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process.


The Subcommittee heard testimony from several witnesses, including Iowa farmer, NCGA Ethanol Action Team member, and Siouxland Energy Cooperative President Kelly Nieuwenhuis.


“I’m taking time away from harvest because today’s topic is critically important,” Nieuwenhuis told the Subcommittee. “Plain and simple: EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions under the RFS is crippling rural America.”


Today’s hearing comes on the heels of EPA’s supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking. EPA’s proposal to redistribute any future waived gallons is half of what the President committed to in his deal with farmers and fails to provide the assurance needed that EPA’s practices for granting waivers will change going forward.


EPA is holding a public hearing tomorrow, October 30, to seek input on their proposal. NCGA and other agriculture and ethanol industry leaders will be in attendance to tell the EPA to follow through on the President’s commitment to farmers and the RFS.