WASHINGTON — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately, the EPA continues to cling to the "blend wall" methodology that falsely claims ethanol has reached its saturation point at a 10 percent ethanol blend and that higher-level ethanol blends, such as E15 and E85, are not yet large enough to justify a higher RVO. The Renewable Fuels Association has called on the EPA to do away with the "blend wall" methodology and allow the statutory volumes in the RFS to drive marketplace change. Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, released the following statement:
"EPA has to be given some credit for attempting to get the RFS back on track by increasing the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) over time. But the frustrating fact is the Agency continues to misunderstand the clear intent of the statute — to drive innovation in both ethanol production and ethanol marketing. The Agency has eviscerated the program's ability to incentivize investments in infrastructure that would break through the blend wall and encourage the commercialization of new technologies. By adopting the oil company narrative regarding the ability of the market to effectively distribute increasing volumes of renewable fuels, rather than putting the RFS back on track, the Agency has created its own slower, more costly, and ultimately diminished track for renewable fuels in this country. "Today's announcement represents a step backward for the RFS. EPA successfully enforced a 13.8 billion gallon RVO in 2013. The industry produced 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol last year. There is no reason to promulgate an RVO rule that takes us backward. All it will do is result in an ever-increasing supply of renewable fuel credits (RINs) that will further discourage private sector investment in infrastructure and technology. This doesn't make sense. "The EPA plan fundamentally places the potential growth in renewable fuels in the hands of the oil companies — empowering the incumbent industry to continue to thwart consumer choice at the pump with no fear of consequence for their bad behavior. That is not what the statute intended. And that is not what's in the best interests of consumers — who will be denied greater access to the lowest cost liquid transportation fuel and octane source on the planet."