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Agreement announced on biofuel blending

Published: Oct. 7, 2019 at 7:48 AM CDT
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President Donald Trump has announced an agreement over biofuel blending in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Under the deal, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will seek comments expanding biofuel requirements to ensure more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol is blended into the fuel supply while also accounting for exempted gallons for small refineries. In the most recent compliance year, EPA waived the obligation of 31 of those refineries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA released statements saying the agreement supports American farmers and provides energy security.

The EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year. Saying it also will start up a rulemaking process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E-15.

Iowa's leaders have long called for changes to the Small Refinery Waivers, estimated to have cut the ethanol mandate in 2019 from 15 billion gallons to 13.6 billion.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst calls the announcement great news for Iowa, "President Trump is following through on his commitment to our nation’s hardworking farmers and biofuels producers. The RFS is essential to the livelihoods of folks across our state."

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says, "The solution outlined by President Trump, Administrator Wheeler and Secretary Perdue is exactly how the RFS is meant to function according to the law as written by Congress."

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says it is critical to a healthy ag economy in Iowa, "Today’s announcement is a reflection of the strong, united front from the renewable fuels industry as well as strong leadership from Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. The President clearly heard us when we said 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons, and this deal proves it."

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says the proposal does include the reallocation of exempted gallons, which were taken out of production by Small Refinery Waivers.

It's Executive Director Monte Shaw says the economic devastation caused by those exemptions must be stopped, "We welcome the proposal to restore integrity to the RFS by prospectively accounting for those exemptions using a three-year rolling average of actual refinery exemptions granted."

He says they will continue to work to make sure the 15 billion gallon RFS promised will actually be that way.