Grassley: RFS proposal rumored to be released Sept. 24

By Erin Voegele | September 22, 2021

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, discussed the U.S. EPA’s upcoming rule to set Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations (RVOs) during a Sept. 21 press call, noting the agency is expected to release a proposed rule for public comment as soon as Friday.

Grassley explained “unpopular” announcements are often made on Friday afternoons, in hopes of minimizing media scrutiny, and said rumors suggest the upcoming RFS rule will be released at the end of this week. Regardless of the timing of the upcoming announcement, Grassley stressed that “farmers aren’t going to forget” if the EPA proposes a “bad RVO.”   

He said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack should have a strong voice in setting the RVOs and expressed hope that the agency will help ensure the EPA sets strong blend obligations.

When asked if he knows what compliance years the upcoming proposal will address and what blend levels will be proposed, Grassley said he’s hearing all the same rumors that members of the media have heard. He also stressed that rumored low RVOs for 2021 and 2022, and the possibility of a retroactive reduction in the 2020 RVO, would cause severe harm to the biofuels industry. “We wouldn’t be raising this corn if we didn’t have an ethanol industry with 43,000 jobs in Iowa,” he said. “And, it’s going to hurt a lot of these jobs, and [low RVOs] could cause some of our biofuel plants—particularly ethanol—to shut down.”

Although Grassley referenced rumors that the RFS proposal will be released for public comment on Friday Sept. 24, the White House Office of Management and Budget’s website shows that meetings with industry stakeholders regarding its review of the pending RFS proposed rule are currently scheduled through Tue. Sept. 28. Typically, a proposed rule would not be released for public comment until those OMB meetings with industry stakeholders are complete.