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US blending mandate changes comes under fire

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Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor testified before the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed rule for 2020, 2021, and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). On December 7, 2021, EPA proposed RVOs that would undercut blending requirements for renewable, low-carbon biofuel in 2021, and would retroactively waive 2.96 billion gallons from 2020 RVOs finalised almost two years ago.
Under the proposal, 2022 volumes return to statutory levels and the administration pledges to deny all improper small refinery exemption (SRE) applications.
“During the previous administration, the small refinery exemption programme undercut the goals of the RFS, preventing EPA from ensuring the RVO was met each year,” said Skor. “We appreciate the agency’s work to end this abuse and return to a true implied conventional volume of 15 billion gallons in 2022, along with promoting strong growth in advanced biofuels. We are also pleased that the agency has finally proposed to restore the first 250 million gallons illegally waived in the 2016 RVO with a commitment on the second 250 million gallons for 2023.
“EPA’s proposal, however, has some serious flaws that need to be addressed. It sets an extremely troubling precedent of revising finalized volumes for 2020 and back-setting volumes for 2021 rather than driving growth in renewable fuels. The proposed retroactive cuts to 2020 exceed EPA’s legal authority, and negatively impact the entire agriculture and fuel supply chains.
“EPA should return integrity to the RFS program and remove hurdles to the use of higher biofuel blends as follows. First, leave 2020 RVOs as finalised in 2019, set the conventional 2021 and 2022 RVOs in line with the statute, and finalize the rulemaking as expeditiously as possible.
“Next, EPA should move quickly to finalize its proposed denial of pending small refinery exemptions.
“The Biden Administration simply cannot meet its climate goals without strong blending requirements for low-carbon biofuel. But if the administration enforces the RFS as promised, it can be a powerful tool for keeping America on the path to a net-zero emission future.”