Growth Energy, BIO to EPA: Proposed Biodiesel Reductions Would Roll Back RFS

Washington, D.C. — Growth Energy and Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today filed joint comments with exhibits in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Notice of Data Availability (NODA) published October 4, opposing several proposals.

“The biofuel reductions in the NODA would pave a path that would reverse the progress of the Renewable Fuel Standard and undercut the benefits our nation is currently gaining from the RFS – job creation, rural development, energy security, significant environmental benefits, and consumer cost savings,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“As we’ve seen in recent days, those who represent our rural communities and farmers know the significant benefits this program has and continues to provide, so we stand with them in support of strong and robust renewable fuel volumes that continue to move the program forward, not backward. 

We’re encouraged to know the White House is clearly paying close attention to this issue and hope that will indeed lead to the EPA abandoning these unjustified biofuel reductions and attempts to tie RINs to exports.”

The NODA proposed reductions in the 2018 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for biodiesel, advanced, and total renewable fuel including a proposal to reduce the biodiesel volume for 2018 by as much as 315 million gallons and the advanced and total renewable biofuels by 473 million gallons. 

Doing so would reduce the already too low 2018 advanced RVO to 3.77 billion gallons (down from 4.24 billion proposed) and would drop the total renewable fuel volume to 18.77 billion gallons (down from 19.24 billion proposed).

“EPA’s proposal would chill investment at a time when more cellulosic and advanced biofuel capacity is poised to come online, as evidenced by the recent approval of a new cellulosic ethanol facility,” Brent Erickson, executive vice president, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), said. 

“The agency should commit to setting 2018 standards that support continued growth of biofuel production and use.”

In their comments, Growth Energy and BIO also provided a legal analysis of how EPA’s latest proposed changes to the RFS run contrary to Congress’ goals and purposes in adopting the statute.

Additional key points from the comments including the following:

  • Promotion of U.S. energy independence does not justify a waiver of the RFS volumes.
  • Definition of domestic supply under the RFS for consideration of EPA’s waiver authority includes and has always included foreign-produced renewable fuel that is available to U.S. importers.
  • EPA may not consider RIN costs when assessing their general waiver authority.
  • EPA has no authority to carry through the reductions in advanced biofuel to total renewable fuel.
  • EPA should follow its previous interpretations of the severe harm standard; there is no basis for a waiver of the 2018 volumes based on severe harm.