Ethanol Blog

RFS Announcement Draws Wide Reaction

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's announced final volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard Wednesday, sparked a flurry of reaction, filling up the inbox at warp speed.

After the EPA announced its proposal last spring biofuels and agriculture groups made a case during the public comment period that the implied volumes for corn-based ethanol should be at 15 billion gallons and not the proposed 14.8.

Of course, there's no way to include all of the reaction into a single story, so here's how numerous interests responded:

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad-

"I am very encouraged that the EPA has decided to increase its conventional renewable fuel volume requirement to the levels set by Congress for 2017, putting the program back on the right track," Branstad said. "Although the biodiesel numbers did not grow as much as the industry advocated, I understand that biodiesel is best positioned to compete for increased volumes in the increased advanced biofuels category. Federal decisions have led to unnecessary uncertainty in agriculture and the biofuels industry the last few years. In this week of Thanksgiving, Iowans should generally be thankful that our nation is moving back toward a robust RFS that is vital to the revitalization of rural America."

Iowa-based biodiesel company Renewable Energy Group President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel J. Oh-

"While our industry has shown that higher volumes of biomass-based diesel can and will be produced and consumed, this final rule elevates the growth trajectory for our cleaner, lower carbon intensity advanced biofuel," he said. "Biomass-based diesel will continue to lead the way. We appreciate the support of those at the EPA, many others throughout the administration and our bipartisan champions on Capitol Hill who all helped make this possible."

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley-

"This announcement is good news for Iowa, and in particular corn ethanol producers," he said. "While more work needs to be done to increase levels for biodiesel, this is the first time that the EPA has reached the statutory level for traditional corn ethanol. This achievement marks significant progress for renewable energy and is a tribute to Iowa's clean energy leadership."

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown-

"Ethanol exports add nothing to U.S. energy security and the RFS is not being administered in keeping with Congressional intent," he said. "The RFS bureaucracy has taken on a life of its own and it is time for Congress to stop this runaway train. American chicken producers are only one drought, flood or freeze away from another crisis. The RFS has cost our industry $59 billion more in feed costs since it was implemented."

Biotechnology Innovation Organization Executive Vice President Brent Erickson-

"By abandoning its legally flawed reliance on general waiver authority as a basis for departing from statutory biofuels volumes requirements, EPA has sent a strong signal that it will support the biofuels industry and grow advanced and cellulosic biofuel production," he said. "BIO and its members welcome this change in course by EPA; today's rule adheres to Congress's intent in enacting the RFS statute and ends several years of instability in the RFS program."

Advanced Biofuels Business Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman-

"Administrator (Gina) McCarthy and her team deserve a lot of credit," he said. "Administrator McCarthy said they would get the RFS back on track and they did. It's a strong rule across the board and moves the conversation forward. We have moved past the imaginary blend wall. The biofuels industry continues to innovate. The merchant refiners saying they cannot comply with the RFS are now implementing cost-effective changes at their refineries to blend more renewable fuel. President-elect Trump will no doubt hear from a shrinking group of RFS naysayers, but I think he understands that the RFS is working, supports a strong manufacturing base across the country and reduces our dependence on foreign oil."

National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock-

"Today the EPA moved in the right direction by increasing the 2017 ethanol volume to statute," he said. "This is critical for farmers facing difficult economic times, as well as for consumers who care about clean air, affordable fuel choices, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil."

Sioux Falls, South Dakota,-based Poet Chief Executive Officer Jeff Broin-

"The grain ethanol industry is ready and able to meet its obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard, and today's rule from the EPA reflects that reality," he said. "I commend the EPA on holding firm to the letter of the law despite enormous pressure from oil interests. These numbers reflect the intent of Congress in making homegrown, renewable biofuels a sizable portion of our transportation fuel supply."

Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol-

"As more ethanol was blended with record-high consumption of gasoline this year, ACE urged EPA to increase the 2017 implied conventional biofuel volume to the statutory level of 15 billion gallons and we are very pleased EPA has agreed to do so," he said. "For the last couple of years, EPA has unfortunately sided with oil companies and refiners instead of rural voters to ‘ride the brakes’ on RFS blending volumes, relying on excuses such as the make-believe E10 ‘blend wall’ and lower gasoline use to reduce renewable fuel use below statutory levels. But we are supportive of the move to increase volumes for 2017 without a ‘blend wall’ excuse."

Read EPA's responses to public comments on the RFS here: http://bit.ly/…

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

Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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