The Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead with recommendations to the White House on biofuel-blending quotas for this year and next, according to several reports, but still uncertain is if those volumes will be up, down or unchanged.
There’s no question EPA must move, if it wants to avoid another delay in biofuel volume-setting rules, but will it reduce those volumes to reflect pandemic-lowered gas use?
Biofuel groups say EPA hasn’t said yet, but Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst questioned now-EPA chief Michael Regan on the issue at his earlier confirmation hearing. “Can you commit to a strong and growing role for corn ethanol in the RFS, including for 2023 and beyond, when the statutory tables have expired. We do want to see the continuation of our renewables. Is that something you can commit to?
Regan reminded senators of the president’s campaign commitment. “I can commit to the fact that the president has indicated that Agriculture will have a seat at the table in this administration, especially as it relates to climate change. There is a commitment that, again, following the science and following the letter of the law—the intentions of the RFS will be a top priority for us.”
But if EPA lowers biofuel requirements, as reported last week, ethanol senators argue it will violate Biden’s commitment to biofuel and corn producers, give a gift to Big Oil and not follow the law to grow ethanol production and use.