Peterson Sees Missed Opportunity in EPA’s Final RFS Rule
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and set the required amount of biofuels that must be blended in the nation’s fuel supply for 2019 and biomass-based biodiesel for 2020. Although the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) in today’s rule are a slight improvement from the proposed rule, Congressman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) sees a missed opportunity to reallocate gallons lost due to the so-called hardship waivers. Congressman Peterson serves as one of the Co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus.
“Rural communities depend on a strong RFS to boost commodity prices, and I am disappointed that this rule didn’t address the billions of gallons lost due to the small refinery waivers. The small increases in the volume obligations don’t compensate for the damage done by these waivers,” Peterson said.
Although conventional ethanol is maintained at the 15 billion gallon target set by Congress and advanced biofuel saw an uptick to 4.92 billion gallons, EPA’s decision to undermine the RFS by granting controversial hardship waivers resulted in 2.25 billion gallons of biofuels lost in the marketplace. The agency could have addressed this problem today by reallocating those gallons, but chose not to act. These waivers hurt ethanol producers and create more uncertainty for farmers already struggling with low commodity prices.