The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the final 2018 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), said his organization was generally pleased with the ethanol levels in the announcement.
“NCGA is pleased to see the EPA meet the Administration’s commitment to keep the RFS on track when it comes to conventional ethanol. Not only has EPA hit the mark with the 15 billion-gallon implied target, but EPA has also improved on the proposed rule by correctly growing the total 2018 volume from the 2017 level as intended in the RFS,” Skunes said. “This year’s corn crop is bigger than anyone anticipated, resulting in the largest carryover supply in 30 years. Farmers want to rely on the marketplace for their income, and ethanol has been critical in our effort to increase profitable demand for U.S. corn.
“While we are concerned that the RVO number for cellulosic ethanol is not set higher than the 2017 volume, we are encouraged EPA raised the level by 50 million gallons above its July proposal. Moving forward, we ask EPA to revisit the growth in cellulosic fuel production, particularly as first-generation ethanol producers expand cellulosic gallons made from feedstocks such as corn kernel fiber.”
The numbers also stagnated biodiesel requirements at 2.1 billion gallons, well short of the industry’s capacity. The final RVOs are an improvement over proposed RVOs issued earlier this year, yet they fall short of maintaining Congress’ intent to drive growth in the American biofuels industry, according to National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson.
“While it’s clear EPA made an attempt to reverse some of their flawed proposals from earlier this year, the improvements to the finalized volume obligations are meager and deeply disappointing. The agency missed a significant opportunity to follow through on the administration’s promises to advance the interests of American family farmers, their communities, and the biofuel industry,” Johnson said. “The RFS was written to promote expanded use of homegrown, renewable biofuels. So long as EPA continues to fail to meet that congressional intent, they’ll continue to shortchange our nation’s family farmers, rural communities, consumers and the environment.”