Biofuel groups say a Trump administration plan to account for gallons of renewable fuel waived through small refinery exemptions is unsatisfactory and goes back on commitments offered earlier this month.

On Tuesday, the EPA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to take comment on how it should calculate the volume of fuel exempted through SREs. The rule would base its calculations on Department of Energy recommendations — not the actual SRE allocations issued by the EPA — on a three-year rolling average.

Biofuel groups were baffled by the news. After believing an Oct. 4 announcement would lead to assurances of the 15-billion gallon congressional blending target being hit every year, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, "We are concerned that the volume of actual exemptions granted in 2020 could very well exceed the amount of projected exemptions from DOE, putting us right back into the quagmire where the 15-billion-gallon requirement is eroded and undermined.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called the move “unconscionable.”

“To effectively address demand destruction moving forward, EPA’s fix must incorporate a projection of actual exempted gallons, not simply apply an out-of-date DOE recommendation,” Skor said. “Every day that passes without the true solution President Trump promised means more and more pain for America’s farmers and rural workers.”

EPA is taking public comment on the rule and will hold an Oct. 30 hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich.

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