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Midwest Senators Submit Supplemental RFS Rule Comments
USAgNet - 11/08/2019

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), each submitted comments to the Federal Register regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In individual letters to EPA Administrator Wheeler, the senators expressed concerns about the way the agency plans to calculate the reallocation of biofuel gallons lost due to exemptions for oil refineries.

In addition, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds submitted comments.

Reynolds wrote, "I was proud to support the deal President Trump brokered in the Oval Office on September 12, and left with the understanding that the EPA would reallocate waived gallons based on a three-year rolling average of actual exemptions. A week later, I was very disappointed to learn that the EPA had re-interpreted what was agreed to. The proposed rule reallocates gallons based on Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations, not actual waived gallons, which offer no accountability or transparency, and may very well fall short of the 15 billion gallon blending commitment. ... These rules have a real and tangible impact on the people of Iowa and across the country. Rural communities in Iowa, like Crawfordsville, Emmetsburg, Merrill and Sioux Center, are especially feeling the effects first-hand. These communities have had to endure the shuttering of biofuels facilities, a detrimental blow that is a direct result of the EPA's actions."

"Just this week, the CEO of a major oil refinery bragged that small refinery exemptions were 'a real cash flow that [they] get every year.' This is at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers. The EPA's proposed rule fails to ensure that 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol are actually blended into our nation's fuel supply. In my letter, I called on Administrator Wheeler to fulfill the president's commitment and provide certainty for rural America," said Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

"As the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, the renewable fuels industry is an important sector of Iowa's economy. It generates nearly $5 billion of Iowa's GDP, over $2.4 billion in household incomes and supports 47,000 jobs across Iowa. President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn't undercut President Trump's support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace," said Grassley.

"Plain and simple, if the market for biofuels does not trust EPA to implement the proposal President Trump negotiated, the market will not make investments in biofuels -- a dangerous spiral for Iowa farmers and producers which will only lead to more plants closed and jobs lost in the heartland. It is time again for EPA to get this policy right, respect the President's intent, and uphold the law as it was written. This means providing certainty that EPA will ensure that 15 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended each year," said Ernst, member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

"While I appreciate the administration's commitment to restore integrity to the RFS and provide that at least 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels are blended into the fuel supply, the proposed supplemental rule unfortunately lacks safeguards that will assure its intent. As you know, resolution of this matter is of critical importance to agriculture stakeholders in South Dakota and across the country, and I urge EPA to reconsider the incorporation of language to make certain that all gallons waived by SREs will be accounted for in final RVOs." said Thune.

"We're grateful to President Trump for his commitment to assuring 15 billion gallons of ethanol is blended into our fuel supply annually," said Rounds. "However, the EPA's proposed rule fails to honor the agreement which the president directed them to formalize. Taking steps to fully restore the integrity of the RFS will honor the agreement as Congress intended."

"Missouri farm families have faced a number of challenges over the past year, from catastrophic flooding to market uncertainty and now the EPA's failure to uphold its commitments to the biofuels industry," said Blunt. "Renewable energy policies like the RFS have helped diversify our nation's fuel supply while creating and sustaining jobs, strengthening local economies, and lowering gas prices. I urge the administration to produce a final rule that addresses the concerns my colleagues and I have raised and supports America's biofuels producers."

"The state of Indiana is the fifth largest ethanol producing state in the country," said Braun. "I urge the EPA to implement the agreement in a way that provides certainty to Hoosier farmers and refiners."

On November 4th, over 60 corn, soybean, and biofuel groups wrote a letter stating that the EPA's supplemental rule would not accurately account for small refinery exemptions and would hurt farm economies and biofuel plants in rural America. To read their letter, go to https://bit.ly/34IvMrd

To submit a comment to the Federal Register, go to www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0136-0352.

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