The Environmental Protection Agency made no announcement about the 2021 renewable volume obligations (RVOS) under the Renewable Fuel Standard today, apparently missing the annual statutory deadline for the release of the RVOs.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that EPA is missing its statutory deadline for publishing the final rule for 2021 RVOs, given that we still haven’t even seen a proposed rule.“
“And even if a proposed rule was released today, it would be next to impossible to have a final rule done by the end of the calendar year, or even by inauguration day.
“At this point, it likely makes more sense to let the new administration handle the 2021 RVO rulemaking process entirely. President-elect Biden has correctly noted that the RFS waivers granted by the current EPA have ‘severely cut ethanol production, costing farmers income and ethanol plant workers their jobs.’
“Thus, we are confident that the new EPA administrator, whoever that may end up being, will stop doing secret favors for oil refiners and ensure the RFS is implemented in a way that is consistent with the law and Congressional intent. We know it may take a few months for the new administration to get a final 2021 RVO rule done, but in the meantime, the statute is crystal clear that refiners must blend at least 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel in 2021.
“So, while there may be some uncertainty around where the final advanced and cellulosic volume requirements may end up, the marketplace should be able to enter 2021 with some level of confidence around the conventional renewable fuel and biomass-based diesel requirements.”
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew added, “By punting a decision on 2021’s RVOS to the next administration, EPA is introducing yet more uncertainty to the biofuels industry — uncertainty that most farmers and biofuels producers can’t afford right now.”
“Despite promising again and again to uphold RFS, the Trump administration has consistently undermined the program with its misappropriation of small refinery exemptions, preferential treatment of oil corporations, and disregard for its legal responsibility to restore lost demand, all of which has cost America’s farmers and biofuel producers dearly. To add insult to injury, fuel use — and, consequently, ethanol use — has dropped significantly during the pandemic, cutting deeply into profits.
“Trump’s EPA has almost invariably fallen short in its handling of biofuels, and today’s decision, or lack thereof, is no different. We sincerely hope Biden’s EPA learns from their mistakes and takes biofuels policy in a much more promising direction.”