EPA’s proposed volume standards don’t consider impact of certain exemptions, says Ernst

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is not satisfied with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to set a minimum amount of renewable fuels that would be supplied to the market in 2020 because it does not account for ethanol lost due to specific exemptions.

“While I’m glad to see the proposed rule is on track to meet the renewable volume obligations deadline, it simply does not account for the billions of gallons of ethanol our hardworking producers have lost to EPA’s unrelenting habit of handing out so-called small refinery exemptions,” Sen. Ernst said.

The EPA on July 5 issued proposed volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard program for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2020 and proposed biomass-based diesel volume standards for 2021.

While renewable fuel volumes would be maintained at what the senator’s office says is an “implied 15-billion gallon target,” the EPA proposes requirements for an advanced biofuel volume and a cellulosic biofuel volume for 2020 that are higher than the 2019 requirements. The biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 is proposed to remain approximately the same.

“Iowa farmers and producers depend on transparency from EPA, which is why I continue to fight to shed light on what’s going on behind closed doors to ensure more predictably and accountability for Iowans,” Sen. Ernst said.

Toward that goal, Sen. Ernst in June cosponsored the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, S.1840, with U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to establish certain requirements for the small refineries exemption of the renewable fuels provisions under the Clean Air Act.

S. 1840 would ensure the EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual renewable volume obligations it sets each November, according to the senator’s office, and would require that specific information about small refinery exemptions be made publicly available, among several other provisions.