WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2017 – President Donald Trump didn’t offer a lot of specific policy promises to the agricultural community during this presidential campaign, but one was perfectly clear: He pledged to support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“Rest assured that your president and this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to America’s economy and to our energy independence. As I emphasized throughout my campaign, renewable fuels are essential to America’s energy strategy,” Trump wrote in a letter sent to National Ethanol Conference attendees in February of this year.
But recent actions by his administration’s EPA are making members of the renewable fuels industry nervous.
In July, EPA proposed to reduce the total 2018 RFS renewable fuel blending requirements below the levels required in 2017. In late September, the agency said it was considering further reductions to the 2018 RFS volumes. "This is in addition to rumors that EPA is considering a proposal in which U.S. biofuel export volumes would count towards compliance with the RFS," pointed out the Renewable Fuels Association.
Today, industry groups are sending a letter to the president, commending his earlier commitment and outlining why they are worried.
“We are concerned about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) consideration of drastic, unprecedented changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that would undercut investments in the production of American-made biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The proposed changes are inconsistent with the law and threaten the growth and prosperity of the U.S. biofuels industry,” the groups wrote in a letter to the president.
“Under the Agency’s most recent RFS proposal, and the follow-up Notice of Data Availability (NODA) released on September 26, EPA is proposing to implement a series of changes to the regulation that would discourage U.S. investment in new production capacity and biofuel blending infrastructure, undermine the energy and economic security goals of the RFS, and disadvantage America in the global race to develop new technologies and commercialize next-generation biofuels.”
The organizations outlined their positions on several proposed changes and also wrote that if those changes are finalized, “EPA’s actions would cause severe harm to our industry, undermining your efforts to drive economic growth and secure America’s status as the global leader in biofuel production.”
Signers include the National Corn Growers Association, the National Biodiesel Board, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, the American Coalition for Ethanol and others. For the full letter, click here.
Editor's note: An updated version of the letter was released this morning with additional signers and comments. This story was updated at 8 a.m. to reflect additional comments and organizations: http://www.ethanolrfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/POTUSletterOct3.pdf.
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