Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) oil refiners are required to blend some 15 billion gpy of corn-based ethanol into their gasoline, but small facilities can be exempted if compliance would hurt them financially.
The October proposal was intended to placate corn growers and compensate the biofuel industry for the administration's expanded use of refinery exemptions, but which the industry has largely panned as insufficient, according to Reuters. The EPA's October plan would raise the biofuels volumes that some refineries must blend in 2020 based on DOE recommendations for volumes that should be exempted.
As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 19 Dec., 2019)
For details see our Oct. 21 report as follows -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021. The Trump administration EPA has issued the attached supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.
The notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.
Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the BOE, including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way it calculates renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation's fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.
Download the Renewable Fuel Standard Program -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 HERE. Contact: EPA Renewable Fuel Standard, 800-385-6164, www.epa.gov/fuels-registration-reporting-and-compliance-help/forms/fuels-program-helpdesk
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, "Hardship" Waiver, Ethanol.Ethanol Blend, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Red Trail Energy,
"It is unreasonable and counter productive to expect Iowans to put their faith in EPA to fix the SRE problem when they (EPA) were the ones who created the crisis in the first place." -- Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
Last week Shaw commented: "We welcome the (Trump RFS) proposal to restore integrity to the RFS. We will work with our champions and the White House to make sure the EPA's final rules ensure that a 15 billion-gallon RFS will actually be a 15 billion-gallon RFS. If that is accomplished, the integrity of the RFS will have been restored and President Trump's promise to protect and uphold the RFS will have been redeemed." Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, Trump, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,
"It's up to each individual entity, but the innovation of taking advantage of low-carbon markets. I think if we can differentiate ourselves within the state of North Dakota, to take advantage of those and be long survivors in this industry." - Gerald Bachmeier, CEO, Red Trail Energy (Source: Red Trail Energy, West Dakota Fox, 5 Oct., 2019) Contact: Red Trail Energy, 701-974-3308, www.redtrailenergy.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, "Hardship" Waiver, Ethanol.Ethanol Blend, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Red Trail Energy,
According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, the Crawfordsville facility is one of 12 biodiesel plants in Iowa. Last year, 365 million gallons of biodiesel was produced in Iowa -- roughly 20 pct of all the biodiesel made in the U.S. (Source: RadioIowa, 25 Sept., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org; W2 Fuel LLC, Roy Strom, CEO, (319) 658-2003, www.w2fuel.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel, W2 Fuel, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,
Needless to say, the President has yet again misled his supporters and the biofuels industry -- along with just about everyone else both domestic and foreign. In response, ethanol and biofuels players and industry organizations wasted no time in venting their rightful outrage.
"The Trump Administration's approval of 31 refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard is just devastating news for our industry. With this action, President Trump has destroyed over a billion gallons of biofuel demand and broken his promise to Iowa voters to protect the RFS. The vast majority of these exemptions are not justified under the law. Since this news began to leak this afternoon, RFS credit prices have freefallen to nearly zero, destroying much of the incentive to blend an incremental gallon of ethanol." -- Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Exec. Dir.,
"At a time when ethanol plants in the Heartland are being mothballed and jobs are being lost, it is unfathomable and utterly reprehensible that the Trump Administration would dole out more unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum refiners. Today's announcement comes as a total shock, as just two months ago Trump himself heard directly from Iowa farmers and ethanol plant workers about the disastrous economic impacts of these small refinery handouts. In response, he (Trump) told us he would 'look into it' and we believed that would lead to the White House and EPA finally putting an end to these devastating waivers. Instead, the Trump administration chose to double down on the exemptions, greatly exacerbating the economic pain being felt in rural America and further stressing an industry already on life support." -- Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, Renewable Fuels Association.
"EPA's refiner-win-at-all-costs oversight of the RFS is doing real damage to America's farmers and renewable fuel producers who are already suffering from trade wars and volatile markets. The RFS is supposed to ensure the use of ethanol and biodiesel increases from one year to the next, but 85 Small Refinery Exemptions later and over 3 billion waived gallons represents an enormous step backwards." -- Brian Jennings, CEO, American Coalition of Ethanol.
As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.
(Source: Various Media, AgPro, 9 Aug., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org;
Renewable Fuels Association, www.ethanolrfa.org;
American Coalition of Ethanol, www.ethanol.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, RFS, "Hardship Waiver", Ethanol Blend, Renewable Fuels Association, ,
Ten other ethanol plants in the country have also temporarily shut down and three others have reportedly closed due to what Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw described as a "supply-demand imbalance" caused by waivers that federal officials are granting big oil refiners. (Source: Plymouth Energy Business Record, Radio Iowa, 1 Aug., 2019) Contact: Plymouth Energy, 712-938-2373, www.plymouth-energy.com; Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,
"We believe it is time for the EPA to address this threat to the Renewable Fuel Standard," Naig said, adding that over the last two years, the agency has granted waivers accounting for 2.6 billion gallons of ethanol or about 1 billion bushels of corn. "This happens at a time when our farmers and rural America can least afford it" he said adding there are currently 39 small-refinery exemption applications before the EPA. Refiners with a capacity of less than 75,000 bpd can receive a waiver as long as they can prove that complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard would cause "disproportionate economic harm."
According to Shaw, the nearly 40 exemptions out there could "rip the heart out"of the Renewable Fuel Standard. "If you can justify granting a small-refinery exemption under today's circumstances -- where you can buy a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) for 8 cents, then what the EPA would really be saying is that it's always going to grant small-refinery exemptions, and the hope of ever having a true 15 billion-gallon RFS is dead," Shaw said.
The Renewable Fuels Association noted overall U.S. ethanol consumption declined last year.
The association also noted 48 small refinery exemptions approved last year by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as a main factor for the drop in ethanol use. (Source: Iowa RFA, PR, The Courier, 21 April, 2019)
Contact: IRFA, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Monte Shaw, RFA, IRFA, RFS, "Hardship" Exemption,
The report was authored by John Urbanchuck, managing partner at ABF Economics.
As we reported on 23 Jan., 2019, 2018 was a record year for ethanol production in Iowa with the state's ethanol production facilities producing 4.35 billion gallons -- 150 million gallons more than 2017 and 150 million gallons short of capacity. The Hawkeye State produces about 27 pct of total U.S. ethanol production.
Iowa's two cellulosic ethanol and 41 corn ethanol plants use more than 1.3 billion bpy of corn. Iowa also produced a record 365 million gallons of biodiesel in 2018 (Source: Iowa Renewable Fuels Assoc., Mar., 2019) Contact: IRFA, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Biofuel, Monte Shaw, IRFA,
The IRFA credits the increase to record ethanol exports, refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, and the trade dispute with China. Iowa's ethanol is projected to make up 27 pct of total U-S ethanol production.
On Jan. 4 we reported the Iowa's 12 biodiesel plants produced a record-breaking 365 million gallons of biodiesel in 2018. The record production is due in part to the plummeting level of biodiesel imports following a verdict against Argentina and Indonesia for illegally subsidizing imports to the U.S.
According to the IRFA, Iowa's biodiesel production is expected to make up nearly 20 pct of total U.S. production for 2018. The IRFA also emphasized that the state could do even more if the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) level for biodiesel was set to at least mirror projected U.S. biodiesel consumption and not undermined by small-refinery exemptions. (Source: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Jan., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., (515) 252-6249, email@example.com, http://iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,
According to the IRFA, Iowa's biodiesel production is expected to make up nearly 20 pct of total U.S. production for 2018. The IRFA Shaw also emphasized that the state could do even more if the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) level for biodiesel was set to at least mirror projected U.S. biodiesel consumption and not undermined by small-refinery exemptions.
Compared to 2017, there was a shift in feedstock usage across the state toward more soybean oil. Soybean oil increased its market share to nearly 81 pct while animal fat usage declined from 11 pct to nearly 5 pct. Corn oil continued to make up about 10 pct of feedstock while used cooking oil (UCO)increased to about 4 percent. (Source: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, KMA Land, 3 Jan., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., (515) 252-6249, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Biodiesel,
"EPA's failure to properly account for small refinery exemptions will continue to destroy biodiesel demand. EPA recognizes that the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry is producing fuel well above the annual volumes. The industry regularly fills 90 percent of the annual advanced biofuel requirement. Nevertheless, the agency continues to use its maximum waiver authority to set advanced biofuel requirements below attainable levels. The method is inconsistent with the RFS program's purpose, which is to drive growth in production and use of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel." -- National Biodiesel Board, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org
"Of the 418 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel called for in the RFS, the vast majority, 388 million gallons, are requested from biogas and that represents a 45 pct increase in production from the 2018 volumes." -- American Biogas Council, Patrick Serfass, Executive Director, (202) 640-6595, www.americanbiogascouncil.org
"When the EPA continues to grant waivers and does not account for those volumes in this rule, domestic demand for our crop is lost, impacting farmers' livelihood and the economy of rural America." -- National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Lynn Chrisp, (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News American Biogas Council, NCGA, , RFS, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board ,
The biofuels producers allege that EPA Administrator Pruitt has repeatedly and relentlessly sought ways to subvert Trump's RFS promises and to undermine, if not destroy, the RFS program. "His anti-RFS actions must be put to an end because today Scott Pruitt is essentially making a liar out of President Trump," the group said.
(Source: IRFA, Spokesman-Review, Various Media, 6 April, 2018)Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., (515) 252-6249, email@example.com, http://iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Pruitt, Renewable Fuels, Biofuel, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, RFS, Ethanol, Biofuel,
Magellan operates the longest pipeline system for refined products and L-P-Gs in the United States, extending about 9,700 miles from the Gulf Coast and covering Iowa and 14 other states across the central U.S.
(Source: Magellan Midstream Partners, Iowa Renewable Fuels Assoc., Radio Iowa, 27 September 27, 2017) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
Magellan Midstream Partners, (918) 574-7000, www.magellanlp.com
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