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EPA Releases RFS Volumes

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

(North American Meat Institute)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week released a new proposed rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard's (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) numbers for calendar year 2017. EPA proposed capping the corn-based ethanol requirement at 14.8 billion gallons and set RVOs at 18.8 billion gallons, figures below levels originally mandated by Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Despite the lower requirements, EPA stated that the rule would boost total renewable fuel volumes by nearly 700 million gallons and advanced renewable fuels by almost 400 million gallons between 2016 and 2017. Meanwhile, the non-advanced or "conventional" fuels provision of the total renewable fuels would increase by 300 million gallons between 2016 and 2017 to achieve 99 percent of the Congressional target of 15 billion gallons. EPA said that constraints in the market to accommodate increasing volumes of ethanol, along with the slower-than-expected development of the cellulosic biofuel industry, makes the timeline established by Congress impossible to achieve.

In a statement, Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter criticized the proposed levels.

"It is disappointing that EPA has once again proposed to guarantee a record domestic volume to ethanol producers, making it the fifth year in a row this has occurred. By once again raising the corn-based ethanol mandate, the agency is doubling-down on this broken program that raises the cost of food for consumers. For years, NAMI has called for a renewable fuels policy that doesn't pit energy against food production, and EPA's proposal reaffirms that it's time for Congress to reform the RFS," Carpenter said.

The comment period for this proposed rule closes July 11, 2016, and EPA will hold a public hearing to discuss the updated requirements on June 9, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri. Final action on this proposal is expected by the end of November 2016.

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