**Thank you to American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) for providing the below timeline and detailed talking points. The Nebraska Ethanol Board encourages you to use this background information and talking points to assist you in submitting comments to EPA during the public comment period to this supplemental rulemaking, which ends Nov. 29. It’s important to add how this rulemaking personally impacts you, your business, and your community. Make sure your voice is heard!
Submit comments on the proposed rule via regulations.gov.
The Nebraska Ethanol Board’s comments will be available soon.
A Timeline of the 2019 RFS Turmoil:
In response to the outrage expressed by farm and biofuel advocates about EPA’s Aug. 9 announcement of 31 Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) approvals for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance year, the White House engaged with elected leaders about a solution going forward. On Sept. 12, President Trump had a meeting with key U.S. Senators and Iowa Governor Reynolds to strike a verbal deal which would ensure at least 15 billion gallons for 2020 and beyond by beginning to “prospectively reallocate” SRE waived volumes.
On the evening of Oct. 3, the White House held a call briefing industry stakeholders that EPA would ensure at least 15 billion gallons for 2020 by prospectively accounting for the three-year rolling average (implied to be the 2016-2018 three-year timeframe) of actual SRE volume, meaning the agency would apply the average of waived volume from 2016-2018 (approximately 1.34 billion gallons) and prospectively reallocate the gallons to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). The next day, on Oct. 4, the White House publicly announced it would seek public comment on this approach; however, the plan was short on details and the outcome dependent upon a new rulemaking process. While the Oct. 4 announcement appeared to be a step in the right direction to offset future SREs, it still did nothing to remedy the damage created from the over 4 billion gallons of RFS blending obligations waived for refineries from 2016-2018 compliance years.
On Oct. 15, EPA released the details of its proposal via a supplemental rulemaking, which it subsequently published in the Federal Register on Oct. 28. The proposal fails to live up to the hype. Despite earlier promises EPA would reallocate SREs in 2020 based on the average of actual gallons waived from 2016 to 2018, the agency proposed to take a bizarre and never-before mentioned approach which undercounts past SREs and falls short of ensuring 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending for 2020.
Roger Berry, NEB administrator, testified alongside many other ethanol supporters at the EPA hearing Oct. 30 to receive public input on the 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 published Oct. 15. Read his full testimony here.