JOHNSTON, Iowa — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its delayed proposed biofuel blending volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2021 and 2022. The proposal calls for 13.52 billion gallons of conventional biofuel in 2021, a nearly 1.5 billion gallon cut from the 15 billion gallon volume called for in the law.
For 2022, the proposal meets the 15 billion gallon statutory target for conventional biofuel, which is a positive step. However, most disappointingly, EPA proposes to take unprecedented action by retroactively reopening and reducing the finalized 2020 renewable volume obligation, slashing the already settled conventional biofuel blending volume for that year from 15 billion gallons to 12.5 billion gallons.
Finally, the proposal also includes an additional 250 million gallons of remanded conventional biofuel volume for 2020 based on a 2017 court decision, the denial of 65 pending small refinery exemptions (SREs), and a separate announcement by USDA for $100 million of new biofuel infrastructure funding.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association released the following statement regarding the proposed RFS volume rule:
“The frustration continues as the proposed biofuel blending volumes released (Dec. 7), as a whole, fall well below the levels of the law within the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said ICGA President Lance Lillibridge, farmer from Vinton, Iowa. “President Biden says climate change is one of his top priorities, however, corn-based ethanol is the low-carbon, low-cost climate solution that is readily available now to lower fuel prices for consumers. Biden’s own EPA is undercutting the benefits of clean-burning ethanol and the livelihoods of corn farmers. Iowa leads the nation in corn production, and ICGA will continue to work with the Biden Administration to uphold the law of the RFS to provide increased market access for clean-burning, more affordable, low-carbon biofuel.”
Lillibridge concluded, “ICGA agrees with the Administration’s small refinery exemption denials and its efforts to restore remanded gallons, but we will expect many improvements in the final rule.”
— Iowa Corn Growers Association