Governors Respond to President Trump’s Biofuel Plan

Source: By Larry Pearce, Governors' Biofuels Coalition • Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem thank the President and suggest Additional Biofuel Actions

        Last Friday, President Trump directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take steps to boost ethanol demand damaged by the small refinery waivers. The President ordered EPA to follow the Renewable Fuel Standard that requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year, beginning in 2020.  The President also directed EPA and USDA to take steps to address barriers to the use of E15 and to expand ethanol’s infrastructure.

Today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem sent a letter to President Trump thanking him for working with agricultural leaders and biofuels producers to help mitigate the damage done by the small refinery waivers.  The governors also recommended additional steps the Administration could take to grow the nation’s biofuels industry.  Governor Walz and Governor Noem are the chair and vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

In the past three years, the Administration has issued 85 small refinery exemptions, representing a loss of over 4.3 billion gallons of biofuels — a loss the President directed EPA to address in the upcoming supplemental rule.  “We continue to hear that renewable fuel plants are closing or idling production. We urge EPA to expedite the rule making process and implement the new rule as quickly as possible,” Governor Walz and Governor Noem said.

The governors also urged the President to use his “… executive authority to restore and grow the nation’s agriculture and biofuels industries…” by taking the following administrative actions now:

  • Direct EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act and reduce the aromatics in gasoline, opening new market opportunities for ethanol to replace toxics and give refiners more options to meet octane demand with high octane ethanol. Replacing hazardous aromatics in gasoline with biofuel will reduce carbon emissions and will provide incalculable health benefits, especially for those Americans living in urban areas.
  • Direct EPA to extend the RVP waiver to higher ethanol blends, including E30.  Efforts to revitalize rural growth must include a waiver for all ethanol blends above E15, including E30.
  • Direct EPA to update its lifecycle carbon findings. EPA’s estimate of lifecycle carbon emissions associated with ethanol have not been updated for a decade, thereby permitting the use of obsolete data to distort the public’s perception of biofuels’ environmental benefits.
  • Direct EPA to approve applications for the production of cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber for D3 RIN credit. Applications seeking D3 RIN approval have been delayed in EPA’s regulatory process, resulting in millions of cellulosic biofuel gallons withheld from the marketplace because of regulatory delay.

“These administrative actions would immediately expand renewable energy production and allow the states, especially those in the Midwest, to harvest the economic and environmental benefits of a thriving biofuels industry,” the governors wrote.  Governor Noem and Governor Walz offered to work the with President, Administrator Wheeler, and Secretary Perdue on these and other steps to benefit the states’ biofuels industries.

Contacts:

  • Larry Pearce (Coalition) 402-651-2948
  • Margaret Hart (Walz) 651-201-6131
  • Kristin Wileman (Noem) 605-290-6493

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