Refining Group Chief: 'King Corn' Wins with Latest RFS Volumes

The agency slightly upped the requirement for advanced biofuels, but left the conventional biofuels requirement for 2018 and the biodiesel mandate for 2019 unchanged.

"We are pleased that the final rule maintains the statutory 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol", Dinneen said.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says, "I'm disappointed that the EPA has chosen not to raise the biodiesel volume".

The agency will also require fuel companies to blend 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel for 2019, in line with the July proposal and steady with the previous year, according to the report, which cited an unnamed EPA official. While we would have liked to see a larger increase, we consider this a crucial win - signaling a policy of continued RVO growth under the Trump administration.It would have been even better if EPA continued that policy of growth with the 2019 Biomass-Based Diesel RVO as we advocated.

This has been a tumultuous year for the biofuels industry, and for Midwest Republicans who backed President Donald Trump.

"Unfortunately, it appears that EPA did exactly what Senator Grassley demanded, bowing the knee to King Corn", Chet Thompson, AFPM's president and CEO, said, referring to the Republican senior US senator from Iowa.

EPAProposed RFS volume requirements July 2017
EPAProposed RFS volume requirements July 2017

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the volumes "fall short" of the industry's potential and aren't in keeping with Congress' intent to grow advanced fuels through the RFS. We are an worldwide producer of biomass-based diesel, a developer of renewable chemicals and are North America's largest producer of advanced biofuel.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen called the final figures "a marked improvement" and encouraged the EPA to keep an eye out for advancements in cellulosic biofuel production, "because we believe greater cellulosic production is likely".

The Renewable Fuel Standard was intended by Congress to promote growth in the production of biofuels in the USA, but Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, said Thursday's final rule has the EPA turning its backs on farmers and rural communities that would have benefited from greater volume requirement increases. Corn producers are relieved at a small uptick in renewable fuel requirements, while biodiesel producers say the EPA did not listen to their plea.

American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says the advanced biofuel volume of 4.29 billion gallons "represents a modest step in the right direction for the RFS" to "reassure retailers that it makes sense to offer E15 and flex fuels".

Renewable fuels, oil refining interests find flaws. She added she would continue to push for higher biodiesel and cellulosic amounts.

  • Rogelio Becker