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2020 RFS Dispute Settled

10/16/2019

Establishing the quantity of ethanol to be incorporated into gasoline degenerates into an annual conflict between the biofuels industry and oil refiners with lobbying from both sides and pressure by corn-state legislators. After delays the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the USDA announced the Administration policy for 2020.  The EPA has called for public comment on the proposed 2020 renewable volumes standard and the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2021. 

 

EPA has determined that 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol will be blended into gasoline in 2020. The EPA will also address the issue of small refiner exemptions based on protests over the total of 54 SREs awarded since 2017.  Following the decision to allow year-round sales of E15, the EPA will issue new rules relating to labeling and will “remove other barriers” to the sales of E15.  The USDA will consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends.  This probably implies subsidy of pumps which can blend a range of ethanol levels. 

 

The joint announcement by EPA and USDA was applauded by legislators representing corn states including Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE).

 

Establishing the renewable fuels standard was established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and extended under the Energy and Dependence and Security Act of 2007.

 

Over the past 15 years, the U.S. has become energy independent. This invalidates the initial and principal objective of the RFS to reduce reliance on potentially antagonistic nations for energy. The RFS has become a consumer-funded support program for corn growers and the ethanol industry to the detriment of livestock production and ultimately all who eat and drive.