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Gov. Ricketts Calls on EPA to Adjust Renewable Volume Obligations, Bolster Ethanol Market

 Governor Pete Ricketts, who is past chair of the Governors’ Biofuel Coalition, announced that he has submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed rule to set the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for ethanol for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

 “While I appreciate that the total renewable fuel volume is slightly increased from last year’s levels in the proposed rule, I believe there are certain adjustments EPA can and should make during this comment period to ensure the final rule setting the 2020 RVOs for conventional, cellulosic and advanced biofuels and 2021 RVOs for biomass-based diesel provides the strongest signal from EPA to the market that there will be robust demand for renewable fuels which will not be subject to change retroactively through the use of additional SREs,” wrote Gov. Ricketts.  “A final rule with such changes will go a long way to immediately restoring certainty and robust demand in the U.S. renewable fuels market and help stop the ongoing and harmful decrease in RIN prices the market has seen especially in the last two years.”

 “I urge the EPA to take steps to account for the over 4 billion gallons of renewable fuels waived through the use of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) for years 2016, 2017 and 2018.  Further, I ask the agency to issue a final rule this year that prospectively accounts for likely waived gallons in 2020.”

 “It would be hard for me to overstate the significant opportunity EPA has before it to issue a final rule within the next few months that contains provisions…which could immediately boost demand for renewable fuels and help strengthen the value proposition of this industry to producers and farmers that so desperately need it at this time.  In addition to including in the final rule provisions to prospectively account for future SREs that will likely be granted, I urge EPA to restore the 500 million gallons that were found to be improperly waived in 2016 and take immediate action to approve pending new pathway and registration petitions.”

 Since 2017, the EPA has substantially increased the number of waivers it grants to small oil refineries, exempting them from fulfilling their renewable fuels obligations.  These waivers decrease demand for ethanol to the detriment of both ethanol producers and corn growers in Nebraska.  

 Nebraska is the second-largest ethanol producing state in the nation.

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