The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) are disappointed today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule, which sets biofuel blending requirements as part of the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). NCB and NeCGA contend the rule paves the way for small refinery exemption (SRE) waivers to further erode RFS volumes and destroy demand for America’s biofuel industries and our nation’s farmers.
“The EPA really blew it this year,” said Dan Nerud, president of NeCGA and farmer from Dorchester. “EPA’s blatant disregard for the law while issuing refinery waivers was appalling, so we really hoped the Administration was going to right this wrong. Fifteen billion gallons of conventional biofuel looks good on paper, but EPA has shown us time and time again they can’t be trusted. This was not the deal President Trump promised us on Oct. 4. He said farmers were going to be very happy. We’re not happy.”
In the rule released today, the EPA used a three-year average of waivers recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE) in coming up with its 2020 waiver estimate, rather than an average of actual gallons waived by the EPA. However, the EPA has historically ignored DOE’s recommendations when issuing waivers and granted substantially more.
“I’d like to say I can trust EPA will follow through with their rule, but the agency continues to side with the oil industry,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the NCB and farmer from Friend. “Additionally, they failed to account for a court remand requiring them to reallocate 500 million gallons of biofuel. Ultimately, the RVO rule today will only be good news if EPA actually follows DOE recommendations, and we’ll be keeping a close eye to ensure they do.”
“Our corn grower members banded together and urged the EPA and our Administration to uphold the law and restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard, but the EPA came up short, said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA and NCB. “We will continue to work with the Administration and the EPA to ensure they uphold their commitment to corn farmers. We need the EPA to follow through and blend at least 15 billion gallons as per the law. We’ll be monitoring this carefully to hold the EPA accountable.”
Additionally, Nebraska Corn will push EPA to follow through with its promises to provide biofuel infrastructure funding and update outdated E15 labeling requirements.