Next Steps After Trump Administration's Biofuel Announcement
Minnesota Ag Connection - 10/10/2019
Friday's biofuel announcement by the Trump administration was a positive first step for the nation's corn farmers, reports the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, but many questions remain about the details underlying the agreement included in the release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Thank you to Minnesota's corn farmers for the more than 700 messages sent to Washington earlier this year demanding the EPA reallocate the gallons it waived. Strong grassroots efforts will continue to play a vital role to stop destructive actions by the EPA and offset the damage already done.
Highlights from the agreement include supplemental action on the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard volume rule to account for waived biofuel gallons, streamlined E15 labeling, and a USDA biofuel infrastructure investment program.
Here's what is next:
- Supplemental 2020 RFS Volume Rulemaking
A top ask to EPA and the administration from corn farmers was to account for waivers up front beginning with the 2020 volume rule. EPA will do that by proposing a supplement to the 2020 volume rule and open this proposal to public comments. Timing of finalizing the 2020 volume rule is a little uncertain given the supplemental action EPA plans to take.
The supplement rule is anticipated to be published shortly, and Minnesota's corn farmers will need to make their voice heard in comments demanding the announced commitment to uphold the RFS is met.
- E15 rulemaking
The EPA has committed to issuing a separate proposed rule aimed at removing additional barriers to E15. Part of this proposal is simplifying E15 labeling requirements at the pump. In addition, this proposal may include a waiver allowing equipment approved for E10 to dispense E15--eliminating another barrier to E15 adoption. Currently, most pumps have the ability to pump E15, but outdated restrictions prevent them from doing so.
- USDA infrastructure
The USDA will work on a biofuel infrastructure proposal over the coming weeks with an aim of implementing it early next year. A key factor in meeting this commitment to support more infrastructure for higher blends is likely to be funding.
- Efforts to recoup waived biofuel gallons
Not included in Friday's announcement is a direct path to reallocating the more than four billion gallons already waived by the EPA.