Ethanol Blog

Biodiesel Producers Plead With Trump to Stand Behind Promises on RFS

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The National Biodiesel Board asked President Donald Trump in a letter on Monday to stand by the Renewable Fuel Standard. (DTN photo by Todd Neeley)

In a plea to President Donald Trump ahead of an expected announced policy change on biofuels, the National Biodiesel Board and 33 of its producer members called on the administration to save the industry from small-refinery exemptions.

As of Friday, according to an ethanol industry source, Trump's planned boost to biofuels included a number of provisions the industry doesn't support. An announcement of the changes was originally expected this week. However, information leaked to the news media detailed a proposal ethanol and biodiesel interests say doesn't go far enough.

The biofuels industry has seen 85 small-refinery exemptions approved by Trump's EPA since 2016, totaling about 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons. The industry has said the exemptions have hurt demand for biofuels.

According to the industry source, Trump's proposal was to include adding gallons to the 2020 renewable volume obligation in the Renewable Fuel Standard to include 500 million gallons for conventional biofuels based on a court remand on 2016 volumes, and 500 million gallons added to the 2020 advanced biofuels category.

The industry has been calling on Trump to reallocate biofuels gallons exempted to larger refiners. However, the industry source told DTN there is no proposed reallocation offered in the Trump proposal.

Instead, the proposal reportedly calls for projecting gallons lost to small-refinery exemptions in the future. However, this would not include reallocation of retroactive exemptions.

The proposal was to include other steps taken to increase sales of E15 and E85, although the details are sketchy at this point.

In addition, the proposal was to make changes to a proposed rule to reset the RFS volumes for 2021 and 2022. EPA reportedly is using an outdated greenhouse gas emissions analysis that would not be favorable to corn ethanol.

In the letter to Trump on Monday, the NBB and its members said the exemptions of led to more than 200 million gallons of U.S. biodiesel production capacity being idled.

"Every small-refinery waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency has the potential to put a U.S. biodiesel producer out of business," the letter said. "We anticipate that additional facilities will close over the next several months if you do not take quick action to restore RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel."

The letter also highlights additional policy headwinds harming the biodiesel industry, including the U.S. Department of Commerce's recent proposal to eliminate trade protections against subsidized biodiesel imports.

"Growth in the biodiesel market is the only way to keep domestic producers operating and protect U.S. workers' jobs," the letter said.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB vice president of federal affairs, said in a press statement the industry needs Trump to stand by the RFS.

"We are asking the administration to, first, restore the RFS volumes undercut by small-refinery exemptions over the past several years and, second, continue to provide growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel in the RFS program," Kovarik said.

Read the letter here: http://kce.informz.net/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

(TN)

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