EPA Releases Biofuel Targets for 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency released its 2019 renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard. EPA boosted final RFS volumes slightly from its earlier proposal to nearly 20-billion gallons next year. That includes up to 15 billion gallons of mostly corn ethanol, nearly 5 billion gallons of advanced biofuel, over 2 billion gallons of biodiesel, and 418 million cellulosic gallons. Overall levels next year will be three percent higher than in 2018. Reaction to the news was mixed from various Ag groups. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “The latest EPA rule is also a missed opportunity to correctly account for billions of gallons of ethanol lost to refinery exemptions.” Until those lost gallons are taken into account, she said it’s “two steps back for every step forward.” The National Biodiesel Board says EPA sets the advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes lower than what the agency acknowledges will be produced. The NBB also says the rule leaves open a backdoor to retroactively reduce required volumes through hardship waivers. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the total approaches 20 billion gallons. “The biofuel blending levels for 2019 are good news for farmers, biofuels producers, and all Americans,” he said. “The increased levels are an encouraging development after a year of often disappointing news from the EPA,” Grassley says.