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RFA Tells EPA to Put RFS Back on Statutory Track

June 9, 2016


WASHINGTON In testimony delivered at a public hearing today in Kansas City, Missouri, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it should increase its proposed 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirement for conventional biofuel volumes to the statutory level of 15 billion gallons. Record levels of E10 consumption, broader availability of E15 and E85, and other factors make the statutory requirement readily achievable in 2017, Dinneen told EPA officials. EPAs recent proposal calls on refiners to blend 14.8 billion gallons of conventional biofuels in 2017, slightly below the 15-billion-gallon level envisioned by Congress when it expanded the RFS in 2007. We encourage EPA to truly put the RFS back on track and finalize the 2017 conventional renewable fuel renewable volume obligation (RVO) at the 15-billion-gallon statutory level. EPAs proposed rule for the 2017 RVOs marks an improvement over the final rule for 2014-2016 RVOs, but it ultimately falls victim to the same legal malady that plagued your last rulemaking, Dinneen testified. Simply put, EPA continues to allege that supply somehow equates to the capacity to distribute or consume renewable fuels. However, the statute does not allow EPA to consider imagined constraints on distribution when deciding whether to utilize a general waiver of the volumes. The intent of Congress was abundantly clear: if the physical supply of renewable fuel exists to satisfy statutory volumes, then EPA must enforce the consumption of those volumes. And it is beyond dispute that the industry is providing an adequate supply to meet the statutory mandate for conventional biofuels. Dinneen highlighted analysis showing that the market can readily achieve the statutory 15 billion gallon requirement for conventional biofuels in 2017. According to the latest data, more than 14.2 billion gallons of ethanol will very likely be consumed in E10 blends next year, with another 300 million gallons of consumption in E15, E85 and mid-level blends. In addition, EPAs proposal suggests conventional biodiesel and renewable diesel consumption will add another 600 million ethanol-equivalent gallons toward compliance with the conventional renewable fuel RVO. Clearly, an unobstructed and realistic pathway to 15 billion gallons exists in 2017, Dinneen told EPA officials. In your own words, this proposal puts EPA 99% of the way down that pathway. Is the last 1% of the journey really worth the risk of further litigation and continued conflict with stakeholders in the agricultural, environmental, biofuel and energy security communities? Dinneen also encouraged EPA to consider surplus RIN stocks when evaluating the available supply of renewable fuel. Finally, Dinneens testimony responded to misinformation from the oil industry suggesting ethanol content should not exceed 9.7% of the gasoline pool and the myth that the RFS is harming boaters and motorcyclists. Dinneens testimony, as prepared for delivery, is available here.