Last week, Bloomberg writer Jennifer A Dlouhy reported that, “Administration officials warned that an EPA plan for boosting biofuel-blending requirements violated the spirit of a deal brokered by President Donald Trump.
“The White House blessed it anyway.
2 wks ago ACE resisted the temptation to sing the praises of the WH ‘deal’ because it was short on details & dependent on a new EPA rulemaking. Simply put, EPA’s proposal fails to live up to the hype. ACE statement here http://ow.ly/tXVg50wM922 ’s-supplemental-proposal-to-2020-rvo/
“The documents shed light on a last-minute fight between the EPA and the USDA that briefly delayed the proposal’s release. Ultimately, the EPA’s approach prevailed, with both agencies signing off on the measure and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs authorizing its release, according to a senior administration official.”
“At issue is an Oct. 1 agreement to raise biofuel-blending requirements and offset EPA waivers exempting some small refineries from the mandates. When the administration outlined the deal on Oct. 4, the EPA said it would seek public comment on ensuring more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol are blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020.
“However, the EPA’s formal proposal to codify the deal, released a week and a half later, raises the possibility that planned increases in biofuel-blending requirements will not be high enough to offset refinery waivers, effectively undercutting the 15-billion-gallon target. The reason is that EPA based its adjustment on a lower possible total — Energy Department recommendations for waivers that were sometimes disregarded — instead of higher levels EPA actually granted in recent years. The EPA also signaled it would shift practice to more closely abide by those Energy Department recommendations going forward.”
Likewise, DTN writer Todd Neeley reported last week that, “The timeline over the past three weeks has been filled with different groups, including White House officials, disputing EPA’s latest biofuels plan and its likely outcomes. The proposed rule does not include language regarding a three-year rolling average that was initially detailed. EPA’s plan also would account for only about half of the annual volume of biofuel gallons EPA has waived.
“The Trump administration initially announced a biofuels deal on Oct. 4 that would include accounting for small-refinery exemptions based on a three-year rolling average of about 4 billion gallons waived between 2016 and 2018, or about 1.35 billion gallons annually.
“The actual EPA proposal released Oct. 15 showed the agency would account for a much smaller volume of 770 million gallons based on a U.S. Department of Energy analysis.”
Mr. Neeley added that, “In documents posted to regulations.gov by EPA on [October 21], email exchanges between the agency and the White House Office of Management and Budget, however, show OMB interagency reviewers did not agree with the EPA proposal as it relates to the White House deal.”
Meanwhile, Des Moines Register writer Donnelle Eller reported last week that, “After ‘playing footsie‘ with big oil companies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a ‘public relations problem’ with Iowa ethanol industry leaders and farmers, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said [October 22nd].
‘I trust the president of the United States,’ Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told reporters. ‘I don’t trust EPA.’
“‘There’s a big public relations problem with the people in the ethanol industry, corn farmers and this senator about EPA keeping its word (after) playing footsie with big oil companies,’ he said.”
Also last week, Jerry Hagstrom reported at DTN that, “At a Cabinet meeting on [October 21st], Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue defended the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement last week about how it will account for the small refinery waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard, while President Donald Trump talked about China trade and farmers.”
Speaking to natural gas producers in Pittsburgh, @realDonaldTrump just highlighted his recent biofuel plan. EPA Chief Wheeler is “right now working on small refineries, getting them everything they need,” Trump says.
The DTN article stated that, “At Trump’s request that he ‘talk about ethanol for our farmers for a couple of minutes,’ Perdue said, ‘You’ve done a couple of things, Mr. President. You’ve – you, first of all, committed to and fulfilled your promise of making the E15 year-round. That’s what’s really needed to build infrastructure. That’s a 50% increase in domestic usage there, which will happen. Good for the economy, good for the air, and good for the ag farmers in that way.
‘You’ve also balanced up the smaller refinery waivers with the farmers and RFS,’ Perdue added. ‘And once they fully understand what you’ve done here, they’ll be fine, and – as they see it implemented.’
On Wednesday, Reuters writer Stephanie Kelly reported that, “Biofuels groups have filed a petition in the U.S. court of appeals in Washington against the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the agency’s process for granting refineries exemptions to the nation’s biofuel blending mandates, the groups said Wednesday.
This from the EIA on small-refinery exemptions… #RFS https://twitter.com/EIAgov/status/1187700651209482240 …
#TodayInEnergy – EPA refinery exemptions reduced renewable fuel blending requirements in 2018 https://go.usa.gov/xpaat #biofuels #ethanol #RenewableFuelStandard
“The petition, filed by groups such as the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and Growth Energy, challenges the EPA’s process for granting waivers to 31 oil refineries for 2018. The biofuels industry has criticized the Trump administration for expanding the number of waivers granted in recent years, claiming the exemptions undercut demand for fuels such as corn-based ethanol.”
On Thursday, Stephen Gruber-Miller reported at The Des Moines Register Online that, “U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst said she’s ready to call for the resignation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s chief if the agency does not uphold an agreement restoring demand for ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“‘If we get to a point where the EPA is not following through on what the president has directed them to do then we will have to hold them accountable,’ Ernst, a Republican, said Thursday on a call with Iowa reporters. ‘And I, at that point if we don’t see that result, that 15 billion gallons, then I’m ready to call for the resignation of Andrew Wheeler. Let’s make sure that this gets done. And if not, we’re going back to the president and saying, ‘Andrew Wheeler is the one that is not following through with your commitment to America’s farmers. You need to get rid of him.’”
“Under the Renewable Fuel Standard — a federal law — 15 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel are supposed to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply annually. The Trump administration issued several waivers to oil refineries, letting them off the hook for part of that total. Industry officials say the exemptions have killed demand for more than a billion bushels of corn used for ethanol.”
Source: Keith Good, Farm Policy News
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