The Environmental Protection Agency is drawing ire from the renewable fuel industry for once more delaying the rollout of mandates for how much ethanol refiners must blend into gasoline.
EPA last delayed setting the 2019 renewable volume obligations for small refineries until Nov. 30 and pushed back the 2020 RVOs for all other refineries until Jan. 1, next year. Now the agency says it’s pushing back those dates further, but isn’t saying until when.
Each year, the RVOs are due by Nov. 30, the deadline set by Congress in the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst took to twitter Thursday to decry the further delays as causing harmful uncertainty to farmers and biofuel producers.
"It’s the uncertainty and confusion that are the biggest problems and it's only getting worse," says Ron Lamberty, senior vice president for the American Coalition for Ethanol.
“What we know is basically what they put in their press release – they’re going to be delayed,” he said. “What we don’t know is how long … The longer they delay, the more difficult they make this.”
“It’s long past time for refiners to demonstrate compliance with their 2019 and 2020 renewable volume obligations,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “There’s no good reason for EPA to kick the can down the road again, which only adds uncertainty and instability to the marketplace.”
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Further complicating the matter is the fact that the EPA still has not announced RVOs for 2021 or 2022 and the agency also announced Thursday that it has plans to change the way it releases the minimum blending rates by giving the agency a range of options on its yearly deadlines.
“EPA needs to release 2021 and 2022 RVOs immediately. Further delaying compliance deadlines for previous RVO years does nothing but contribute to ongoing uncertainty in the marketplace,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Sadly, even as our country faces rising gas prices, the EPA and the Biden Administration continue to give in to the loud voices of the oil industry without considering their detrimental impact on rural America.”