An ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a member of the Congressional Biofuel Caucus, releases the text of a letter he sent to President Trump today that requests the President to “make a declarative statement that a minimum of 15 billion gallons will be blended annually and that all gallons actually waived will be annually recaptured under the RFS.”

The letter to President Trump was prompted by both the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) use of small refinery exemptions (SRE) to undermine the volume requirements contained in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and also the failure of that agency to guarantee that 15 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended under the Renewable Volume Obligation rule they have announced for 2020. The EPA’s failure to enforce the volume requirements has led to an unfair advantage for petroleum, and “cumulatively, these exempted gallons frustrate the intent of the RFS, thereby compromising the livelihood of our nation’s farmers and the ability of our citizens to obtain the cleaner, efficient fuel that they increasingly demand.”

King’s letter to the President also points out the importance of addressing the issue of recapturing gallons that have been lost due to the use of SRE’s. King has introduced two bills, HR 3410 and HR 3411, that contain recapture provisions, and King reminds President Trump that “the foundation of the objective” announced after the Oval Office meeting of September 12 was “to ensure that at least 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel are blended, accounting for waivers by using a three year rolling average of actual volumes waived by SREs.’ A core deficiency of the EPA’s recently announced rule is that “it does not rely on actual volumes waived by SREs in order to account for waivers, but instead relies on the recommendation of the Department of Energy (DOE).”

Congressman King’s RFS letter to President Trump may be seen at this link. In addition, the text of King’s letter to President Trump has been reproduced below:

Dear Mr. President,

I write to extend to you my concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent rule regarding the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2020. While the rule includes an increase in Advanced Biofuels and Biomass Based Diesel, it fails to guarantee that 15 billion gallons of conventional (corn-based) ethanol will be blended. Historically, the EPA has failed to enforce this law, creating an unfair advantage for petroleum. 

In compliance year 2018 alone, the EPA granted 31 small refiner exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  Cumulatively, these exempted gallons frustrate the intent of the RFS, thereby compromising the livelihood of our nation’s farmers and the ability of our citizens to obtain the cleaner, efficient fuel that they increasingly demand.  Recognizing the distress the matter was causing farmers in my district at home in Iowa, I introduced two bills in June 2019.  H.R. 3410 would ensure that the gallons waived through SREs would be added to RFS requirements.  H.R. 3411 would ensure that gallons waived through SREs in previous calendar years are accounted for by adding them to RFS requirements in future calendar years. 

Together, my bills would protect the RFS volume requirements from being further undermined by the EPA’s use of SREs.  This is the same objective you sought in the September 12, 2019 meeting you convened in the Oval Office to restore the RFS to its original intent.  The foundation of that important objective was to ensure that at least 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel are blended, accounting for waivers by using a three-year rolling average of actual volumes waived by SREs.

EPA’s proposal simply will not ensure that a minimum of 15 billion gallons are blended, because it does not rely on actual volumes waived by SREs in order to account for waivers, but instead relies on the recommendation of the Department of Energy (DOE).  

Although the EPA proposal allows the agency to enforce the agreement made in the Oval Office on September 12, it does not guarantee it.  For this reason, I request that you make a declarative statement that a minimum of 15 billion gallons will be blended annually and that all gallons actually waived will be annually recaptured under the RFS.     

Sincerely,

Congressman Steve King

1 comment
  1. This is truly awful. Government should not be in the business of subsidizing any product, and ethanol is a dreadful product. It pollutes more than real gas, destroys engines, and diverts the production of food crops into making fuel.

    What people don’t realize is that government interference in the market hurts those being subsidized, and not just consumers. Subsidies prevent people from learning from mistakes and keeps marginal producers in business. They are bad for everyone.

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