November 20, 2017

EPA Releases Proposed Renewable Fuel Volume Obligations

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released their proposed Renewable  Volume Obligations (RVO) for 2018.  The numbers were largely steady with the 2017 requirements with a few small tweaks to biomass based products.  Overall, the total RVO will drop from 19.28 billion gallons down to 19.24 billion.  Within that amount, the traditional corn based ethanol mandate will remain at 15 billion gallons but blend volumes for biomass based biodiesel will decline from 4.28 billion gallons in 2017 to 4.24 billion gallons.  The mandate on cellulosic ethanol too the biggest percentage hit with a target of 238 million gallons, down 73 million from last year.

The release of the proposed mandates is the first for the Trump Administration which took office this past winter.  It comes as a relief to some who had feared that Trumps pick of Scott Pruitt could mark the end of the Renewable Fuels era as agriculture knew it.  Pruitt had served as attorney general for fossil fuel state Oklahoma, although he pledged during his confirmation hear to leave renewable fuels policy intact.  He backed that up again in his statement Wednesday saying, “Increased fuel security is an important component of the path toward American energy dominance”  He said the new proposed targets would further that goal.

The National Corn Growers Association gave their endorsement.  President Wesley Spurlock, of Texas, issued this statement:

“We are pleased to see EPA pick up where last year’s RFS rulemaking left off and propose a rule that keeps the RFS on track for conventional ethanol production. EPA’s proposal is good for farmers who are facing tough economic times and good for consumers who want affordable fuel choices that give us a cleaner environment”

“The Renewable Fuel Standard has been a resounding success: cleaner air, greater energy independence, and stronger rural communities. We call on the EPA to keep the RFS moving forward in line with the law and in a timely manner. Doing so will bring greater stability and certainty to the marketplace and spur increased investment in renewable fuels.”

The RVO’s are mandated by statute to be finalized by November of the year prior to implementation.