ABFA members oppose proposed cuts to RFS RVOs in letter to Trump

By Erin Voegele | October 16, 2017

On Oct. 13, members of the Advanced Biofuels Association sent a letter to President Trump expressing their opposition to a recent proposal issued by the U.S. EPA that could result in lower blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The EPA published a notice of data availability (NODA) on Sept. 26 that seeks comments on potential reductions in 2018 and 2019 RFS renewable blending obligations (RVOs). The potential reductions primarily target biomass-based diesel, but would potentially result in corresponding reductions to advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel RVOs. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 19.

Release of the NODA followed the July 5 release of EPA’s proposed rule to set 2018 RVOs under the RFS, along with the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel. The public comment period on that proposed rule closed Aug. 31. Under statute, the EPA is required to issue a final rule setting 2018 RVOs by Nov. 30.

“As domestic and international producers, marketers, and distributors of over 12 billion gallons annually of renewable fuels, including 4 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel, we have grave concerns about the market and consumer impacts of this NODA,” wrote the ABFA members. “We believe that this proposal will ultimately raise the price of fuel for American consumers while reducing the incentive to invest in growing America’s capacity to produce, blend, and distribute innovative renewable fuels.”

The letter outlines three specific reasons the ABFA and its members oppose the NODA. First, the letter states that the NODA undercuts the basic intent of the RFS program by reducing the annual mandates for advanced RVO pools lower than previous years’ mandates, and lower than available domestic supply. Second, the ABFA members said the NODA justifies the proposed decrease by inventing its own definition of “domestic supply” that is directly contrary to the federal court’s interpretation of the RFS. Third, the ABFA members argue that the NODA speculates on overall market conditions and trends governed by forces well beyond EPA’s jurisdiction.

“We believe EPA’s proposal to reduce the annual mandates under the RFS will have negative impacts on producers, marketers, and consumers alike,” the ABFA members continued. “Moreover, the proposal is absolutely unwarranted given the performance of the advanced biofuels industry in recent years. We oppose the EPA’s proposal and urge you to ensure the administration’s support for increasing the volumes of advanced biofuels used across America.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from the ABFA website. http://advancedbiofuelsassociation.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ABFA-NODA-Letter-Final.pdf