Ethanol Blog

RFS Proposal Sent to White House

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The latest proposed renewable volume obligations in the Renewable Fuel Standard were sent to the White House for review Thursday. (DTN file photo)

The 2018 proposed renewable volume obligations in the Renewable Fuel Standard were sent to the Office of Management and Budget at the White House late Thursday, according to the OMB website.

The White House is expected to complete its review of the proposed rule within the next 90 days, although it may take just 30 days. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal would set RVOs for 2018 and Biomass Based Diesel Volume for 2019,….

The deadline for the final rule is Nov. 30. After the proposal is issued, that is followed by a public comment period and public hearing.

Back in May 2016 when EPA released its proposal that called for 14.8 billion gallons of corn ethanol in the RFS as an implied number, ethanol industry officials cried foul, saying the industry had the ability to produce above and beyond the 15-billion-gallon cap.

At the time, EPA made the case gasoline consumption estimates were too low to support 15 billion gallons of ethanol in the fuel supply.

The total RVO was finalized at 19.28 billion gallons. That included 4.28 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and 311 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That means the implied RVO for conventional biofuels including corn ethanol was set at 15 billion gallons. The EPA had proposed a 14.8-billion-gallon mandate for corn ethanol back in May 2016.

EPA originally called for a total RVO of 18.8 billion gallons. In addition, the agency had proposed 4 billion gallons for advanced biofuel and 312 million gallons for cellulosic biofuel. Although the biodiesel industry is poised to produce about 2.6 billion gallons in 2016, the EPA went with its original proposal of 2 billion gallons for biomass-based biodiesel in 2017 and 2.1 billion gallons in 2018.

In March of this year, a bipartisan group of senators joined a growing chorus of voices opposing any changes to the point of obligation in the RFS.

A group of 23 senators, including 17 Democrats and six Republicans, wrote to President Donald Trump asking him to leave the point of obligation unchanged.

There was a stir earlier this year at news reports that the White House was considering and executive order to change the point of obligation. An executive order never materialized. The point of obligation determines which businesses are responsible for meeting the biofuels mandates.

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