US EPA readies proposal for 2020-21 biofuel mandate

Source: By Meghan Gordon, Platts • Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Washington — The US Environmental Protection Agency is close to releasing its proposal for how much biofuel refiners must blend into the US transportation fuel supply next year, a spokesman said Monday.

 The proposal has been shared with other agencies for review, spokesman Ken Labbe said, adding that a final version remains on track to be released by Congress’ November 30 deadline.

EPA sent its proposal to the White House on May 6 and modified it on May 20, according to Office of Management and Budget records. The notice did not contain any details from the proposal or modification.

The biofuel policy has already entered the 2020 US presidential debate, as candidates campaign in Iowa, home to corn growers and biofuel producers.

On Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat-Massachusetts, said she supported the Trump administration’s move to lift the summertime ban on E15 sales. But she took issue with EPA’s accelerated use of small refinery waivers, which last year caused Renewable Identification Number prices to drop sharply.

President Donald Trump is scheduled Tuesday to tour the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy ethanol plant in Council Bluffs. He is expected to tout the E15 expansion, which took effect a day before the summer driving season. The fuel was previously banned from June to mid-September.

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires refiners and importers to blend 19.92 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the US transportation fuel supply in 2019, including an implied 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol. The conventional level is unchanged from 2017.

EPA set the 2020 biodiesel requirement at 2.43 billion gallons, up from the 2019 requirement of 2.1 billion gallons. The biodiesel volume is set one year ahead of the other categories.

The total renewable fuel volume for 2019 represents 10.97% of the US transportation fuel pool.

S&P Global Platts assessed D6 ethanol RINs for 2019 compliance at 14.5 cents/RIN Friday. D6 RINs for 2018 were assessed at 10.5 cents each.

RINs are tradable credits EPA issues to track production and use of alternative transportation fuels. For corn-based ethanol, one gallon of ethanol yields one RIN.