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US EPA proposes biofuels blend increase for 2020

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed an increase in the volume of biofuels that refiners must blend into fuel they produce for 2020, Reuters reports.

The agency has proposed an increase to 20.04 billion gallons per year for 2020, up from current levels of 19.92 billion gallons this year.

According to Reuters, who spoke to sources familiar with the matter, the proposed mandate includes 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels, such as ethanol, in addition to 5.04 billion gallons of advanced biofuels.

The volume of advanced biofuels to be included in blends from refiners is an increase on the 4.92 billion gallons currently required.

In comments to Reuters, EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said: “The proposal is currently under interagency review, which places the Trump administration on track to release the Renewable Fuel Standard Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) on time for the third consecutive year.”

The exemption of small refineries from biofuel blending has frustrated the corn industry and its supporters, with Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor applauding a bipartisan letter sent earlier this week calling for the EPA to end the practice of granting small refinery exemptions.

“At a time when grain markets have reached a 42-year low and there was an $11.8 billion decline in farm income the last quarter, our rural communities are continuing to be punished by the rapid escalation in small refinery exemptions by this administration,” said Skor. “There is no legal or rational explanation for why EPA has quadrupled the number of secret exemptions to the world’s largest oil companies in the past 17 months.”