Government

Biofuel supporters urge EPA to 'stick to Trump's deal'

Tanks rise from the ground where the distillation process takes place to remove ethanol from the fermented slurry at Golden Grain Energy, a Mason City ethanol plant.
Tanks rise from the ground where the distillation process takes place to remove ethanol from the fermented slurry at Golden Grain Energy, a Mason City ethanol plant.

DES MOINES — More than 800 advocates for biofuels signed comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of keeping the provisions of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard in place and enforced, according to officials with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

The signers urged EPA officials to “stick to President Trump’s deal” — 15 billion gallons of biofuels per year — and ensure biofuel demand is not destroyed by small refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, according to an association statement.

“While the deal President Trump announced on Oct. 4 ensured that RFS blend levels would be met, this EPA proposal removes that certainty,” the comments signed by 801 biofuels supporters stated.

“Stick to President Trump’s deal and restore certainty to the market so that ethanol and biodiesel plants can continue to provide high-quality fuel that is good for our environment, reduces our dependence on foreign oil and enhances engine performance.”

In the past three years, according to the association, EPA officials have granted 85 small-refinery exemptions, effectively cutting more than 4 billion gallons of biofuel demand.

“The demand destruction caused by small refinery exemptions is hurting ethanol and biodiesel plants across the country and in my community,” the comments stated. “These biofuels plants provide good-paying jobs in small towns and a boost to farmers, who are also facing uncertainty in a global market due to trade disputes. ...

“It is important that EPA base future small refinery exemption estimations on the average number of actual waived gallons, not DOE recommendations, in order to guarantee the integrity of the RFS.”

The deadline to submit comments to the EPA on the supplemental rule is Friday.

The federal agency is expected to issue a final rule before the end of the year.

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