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Coalition petitions Trump to uphold biofuel promise

Groups want EPA to establish exemption accountability based on rolling averages of actual volumes exempted.

A broad coalition of biofuel and farm advocates have sent a letter to the White House this week calling on President Donald Trump to fix a flawed proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency that “fails in its mission to reinvigorate farm economies and reopen biofuel plants across America’s heartland.”

The letter was signed by 60 organizations, including corn, soybean and biofuel industry groups and state affiliates. It notes that EPA’s draft plan undermines the Administration’s commitment to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and accurately account for the biofuel demand destroyed by small refinery exemptions (SREs).

“The flawed proposal swaps out a critical component of the SRE remedy sought by farmers and the biofuels industry,” farm and biofuel leaders wrote. “Instead of recovering the gallons exempted by EPA, it proposes to recover only those gallons previously recommended for exemption by the U.S. Department of Energy. This one EPA modification converts a commitment to fully account for SREs into a bureaucratically uncertain path that recovers only one fraction of those gallons lost to SREs and could result in RFS backsliding in 2020. This lack of certainty sabotages efforts toward market recovery and will stop biorefineries from reopening.”

The letter noted that the supplemental proposal contains none of the market access remedies sought and makes no commitment to recover gallons lost to SREs after 2020. “From an investment perspective, the proposed rule offers little more than the promise of a partial one-year fix that may never materialize,” the letter noted.

EPA will be soliciting comments on the draft renewable volume obligations until the end of November. The groups said they are seeking SRE accountability based on a rolling average of the actual volumes exempted by EPA during the three most recently completed compliance years.

“This simple fix will provide the market and regulatory certainty necessary to bring back rural jobs and restore demand. The proposal – as written – will not provide the relief we believe you are seeking,” they wrote.

TAGS: Policy
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