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PUSH FOR ETHANOL: Ethanol advocates turned out for EPA public hearing to push for strong Renewable Fuel Standard volumes to provide certainty for technology investors.

Ethanol advocates speak out at EPA hearing on Renewable Fuel Standard

Ethanol backers would like to see EPA raise the volume standard for advanced biofuels.

The nation’s leading biofuel advocates spoke out strongly at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency public hearing on proposed 2018 targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Supporters urged the EPA to make more ethanol and other biofuels available to consumers in next year’s fuel mix to protect America’s choices at the pump, the rural economy, U.S. energy security and the environment.

“I want to thank Administrator [Scott] Pruitt and the EPA for getting this proposal out in a timely fashion,” said Kim Reynolds, governor of Iowa. “It’s so important for Iowa farmers and producers, and it’s a welcome change from the past few years. While I am thankful that the corn ethanol level was set at the statutorily required 15 billion gallons, I urge the EPA to raise the advanced biofuel, biodiesel and cellulosic volumes. The RFS is a bold policy, and Iowans and the industry as a whole have always risen to the challenge.”

“First and foremost, I commend EPA for its on-time proposal,” said Pete Ricketts, governor of Nebraska. “The importance of creating certainty and the stability that comes with it cannot be overstated. Releasing these volume proposals in a timely manner allows for planning and stability in the market. We are heartened to see the rule proposed by EPA allows for continued use of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels to meet RFS requirements. The proposal is consistent with the president’s statements of support for the corn ethanol industry and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s commitment to implement the program in a way that honors congressional intent.”

“For cellulosic ethanol, there is no question that the task for forecasting volumes for the next calendar year is difficult,” said Jan Koninckx, global business director for advanced biofuels at DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “However, in 2016 and 2017, EPA did a much better job of forecasting the cellulosic volume than for any of the prior years, and this past Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, upholding EPA’s process and the outcome. Given this result, there should be no question that EPA must revisit the process used in the current proposal for cellulosic ethanol and follow its own guidance and process used for the 2016 and 2017 cellulosic RVOs.”    

“EPA cannot use a methodology that limits future market space to a prior year’s performance,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s Industrial and Environmental Section. “That would have a chilling effect on new cellulosic production.”

“Cellulosic biofuels are poised to drive the next great wave of manufacturing investments across the heartland of the United States,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. “For this administration to succeed in rebuilding the rural economy, the EPA must set forward-looking targets for cellulosic production. Any retreat sends an unmistakable signal to investors that the U.S. is no longer fertile ground for innovation.”

“My local ethanol plant was constructed one year prior to my college graduation,” said Keith Alverson, farmer from Chester, S.D., and member of the National Corn Growers Association Board of Directors. “That plant and the economic opportunity it created is a large part of what enabled me to continue the family tradition and return to the farm.”

“Our members are the world’s leading innovators in the production of cellulosic ethanol, developing technology that can be replicated at other existing plants throughout the industry, but they need policy certainty to continue to make those investments,” said Chris Bliley, vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy. “If we want energy dominance and innovation, we need to continue to build upon the success of the RFS by maintaining the commitment to 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel and moving forward — not backward — on cellulosic. Doing so will promote certainty and further investment.”

“This proposed rule half delivers on the promise of the RFS and promises made by the president to the ethanol industry and agricultural sector,” said Rob Walther, vice president of federal advocacy at Poet. “At a time that the agricultural crisis, noted by the Wall Street Journal, is picking up momentum and rural America is in serious jeopardy of mass farm bankruptcies, we can ill afford regressions in the federal government’s commitment to the heartland. … The cellulosic and advanced numbers do not take into account significant gains being realized by both hemi-cellulose and corn-fiber technologies not just at Poet, but around the industry.”

Supporters who could not testify at the hearing are urged to submit comments to the EPA by Aug. 31, when regulators will start writing a final rule.

Fuels America is a coalition of organizations committed to protecting America’s Renewable Fuel Standard and promoting the benefits of all types of renewable fuel already growing in America. Fuels America is founded on a simple core principle: Renewable fuel is good for the U.S. economy, for our nation’s energy security and for the environment. For more information, visit fuelsamerica.org.

Source: Fuels America

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