The Governors' Biofuels Coalition has asked President Donald Trump to take a series of executive actions on a number of ethanol issues, following the administration's announcement of a plan to account for small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard.
First and foremost, the group asked Trump to expedite any new rulemaking process aimed at the waivers issue.
The Trump administration has granted 85 exemptions totaling about 4 billion gallons of biofuels not blended in petroleum. "We continue to hear that renewable fuel plants are closing or idling production. We urge EPA to expedite the rule making process and implement the new rule as quickly as possible," the coalition said in a letter to Trump on Tuesday.
In in the letter from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, chairman and vice chairman of the coalition, the group outlines a number of additional actions it wants Trump to take on biofuels.
As part of the biofuels announcement last week, the Trump administration also directed EPA and USDA to take steps to address barriers to the use of E15 and to expand ethanol's infrastructure.
In the letter the governors also recommended additional steps the Administration could take including:
-Directing EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act and reduce aromatics in gasoline, opening new market opportunities for ethanol to replace toxics and give refiners more options to meet octane demand with high-octane ethanol. "Replacing hazardous aromatics in gasoline with biofuel will reduce carbon emissions and will provide incalculable health benefits, especially for those Americans living in urban areas," the coalition said in the letter.
-Directing EPA to extend the Reid vapor pressure, or RVP, waiver to higher ethanol blends including E30. "Efforts to revitalize rural growth must include a waiver for all ethanol blends above E15, including E30," the letter said.
-Directing EPA to update its lifecycle carbon findings. EPA's estimate of lifecycle carbon emissions associated with ethanol have not been updated in a decade, "thereby permitting the use of obsolete data to distort the public's perception of biofuels' environmental benefits," the letter said.
-Directing EPA to approve applications for the production of cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber for D3 Renewable Identification Number, or RIN, credit. "Applications seeking D3 RIN approval have been delayed in EPA's regulatory process, resulting in millions of cellulosic biofuel gallons withheld from the marketplace because of regulatory delay," the letter said.
"These administrative actions would immediately expand renewable energy production and allow the states, especially those in the Midwest, to harvest the economic and environmental benefits of a thriving biofuels industry," the governors said in the letter.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN
© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.