On Dec. 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaiting renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2020, 2021 and 2022 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the new standards raise volumes moving forward, but disappointed they retroactively lowered the already finalized 2020 volumes.

The RFS statute includes annual volume targets for biofuels and EPA translates the volume targets into compliance obligations each year. In its announcement, the EPA proposed the applicable volumes for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel for 2020, 2021 and 2022, and the biomass-based diesel application volume for 2022.

EPA proposes 20.77 billion gallons of renewable fuels be used in the nation’s fuel supply in 2022, with 15 billion gallons coming from corn-based ethanol.

“Renewable fuels are local fuels and a win-win-win for rural Minnesota,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “Biofuel plants provide markets for corn and soybean growers. The plants provide good-paying jobs for rural residents and renewable fuels lower the cost of fuel at the pump for consumers.”

Unfortunately, EPA proposed to retroactively set total renewable fuel volumes at 17.13 billion gallons for 2020, including 12.5 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol. This is down from the previously finalized rule of 15 billion gallons.

“It is disappointing it took so long to release the rule and that 2020 volumes are being retroactively reduced,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew. “We call on EPA to reevaluate this retroactive cut.”

On the plus side, EPA announced it intends to reject all 65 pending small refinery exemption petitions.

EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on the RFS proposal on Jan. 4, 2022.


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