Ethanol Industry Still Fighting for Lost Volumes Due to Waivers

Source: By Eric Pfeiffer, Hoosier Ag Today • Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Corn Growers and the ethanol industry aren’t giving up yet on getting EPA to offset demand lost to oil refiner RFS waivers, even after the agency dropped a plan to do just that. National Corn Growers’ Kathy Bergren predicts farmers will weigh in heavily on the pending 2019 RFS rule.

“I think farmers well insist to EPA that EPA needs to use this volumes rule for the RFS to fix the damage that EPA has done through the small refinery exemptions.”

Boxing ethanol in, Bergren complains, at 10-percent, killing incentive to use more or produce higher blends in gasoline and adding to existing demand losses.

“Scott Irwin at the University of Illinois released some additional calculations on these numbers. He estimates that that means for the 2007 that that reduced the 15 billion gallon RVO for ethanol by 1.1 billion gallons.”

At the Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper says EPA now admits it can make up volume lost to waivers if it wants to, an admission that could complicate its defense against biofuels industry lawsuits.

“Now we know, through these documents, that EPA does have the authority and they acknowledge that they have that authority. So, we think that’s going to make it really difficult for them to stand in front of a judge and say, ‘Oh no. We can’t do this. We can’t reallocate these volumes.”

EPA is expected to finalize the ’19 RFS in November, leaving open the question of timing and whether the EPA will make a final decision ahead of the midterm elections.