Iowa congressional delegation unhappy with EPA's final rule on RFS

Protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard is a priority for officials from corn-producing states as shown by this sign at an RFS rally in Iowa a few years ago

The 2018 rule stalls the steady and significant growth the volume requirements have seen under the program in every year since 2014. "We would like to have seen a boost to the target blending levels for cellulosic biofuels, and we will continue to work with the administration to advance the RFS goal of further stimulating growth and showing USA leadership in 21st century fuels".

POET CEO Jeff Broin today responded to the EPA's final rule on the 2018 Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The amount of conventional renewable fuels, mostly ethanol, held steady at 15 billion gallons. The cellulosic level was cut more than 7 percent from 2017, although less than the 25 percent cut that was originally proposed, according to the association.

The EPA largely maintains the status quo in setting final quotas for how much refiners must blend into gasoline and diesel, but draws only tepid approval from Iowa corn farmers and politicians who say the agency is "discouraging investment and discouraging growth" by keeping biodiesel volumes flat.

Kimberley says the 2.5 billion gallons they requested for 2019 was not only reasonable, but achievable. This represents a modest step in the right direction for the RFS in 2018.

Reynolds, Ernst and Shaw add they are pleased with the corn ethanol numbers. "By rejecting structural changes to the RFS and finalizing a 15-billion-gallon conventional biofuels level, there is some certainty for rural America as it struggles with commodity surpluses".

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The agency will also require fuel companies to blend 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel for 2019, in line with the July proposal and steady with the previous year, according to the report, which cited an unnamed EPA official.

The head of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), meanwhile, called Thursday's announcement a win for the ethanol industry - and specifically for one of its key proponents in Congress.

While campaigning for president in 2016, Trump promised to support renewable fuels.

However, the association had hoped the final rule went further. Corn producers are relieved at a small uptick in renewable fuel requirements, while biodiesel producers say the EPA did not listen to their plea. Frank Macchiarola, downstream group director for the American Petroleum Institute, said the U.S.is now producing more oil domestically, making the RFS a program "trying to solve a problem that no longer exists".

The RFS program was created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

"Increases in the volume requirements are justified and would be good public policy", Grassley said.

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