Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 2015 EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules that will determine the volume of Ohio biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply. The revised RFS reduced volume targets to levels below those previously mandated by federal law — an 11.27 billion gallon shortfall over the three years for total biofuels. The corn ethanol obligation was cut 3.75 billion gallons from 2014 to 2016. The biomass-based diesel volumes were set at the following levels:
- 2014 — 1.63 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 2.68 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels
- 2015 — 1.7 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 2.9 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels
- 2016 — 1.8 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 3.4 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels
- 2017 — 1.9 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel
“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been incredibly successful, achieving every goal that it was designed to accomplish,” said Chad Kemp, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association president. “Today’s actions by the EPA once again hurt family farmers by driving down the corn market at a time when grain stocks are abundant. Once again the EPA has chosen to help Big Oil at the expense of American consumers.
“Increased use of ethanol and biofuels are a major factor in energy independence, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lowering gasoline prices for consumers and increasing economic stability in rural America. Protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard is a top priority for growers, and we will continue to raise our voices as necessary in defense of this important policy.”
The American Soybean Association was somewhat more pleased with the announcement concerning the biodiesel requirements.
“We are glad to see the volumes for biomass-based diesel increased above the previous proposal. Biodiesel provides significant economic and environmental benefits and we have the capacity to do more,” said Wade Cowan, American Soybean Association president. “The administration wants to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and biodiesel — a domestically produced, renewable fuel that is proven to achieve emissions reductions up to 86% better than petroleum diesel — can contribute more to that effort.”
There will be a 60-day public comment period and EPA intends to finalize the rule by November 30, 2015. By law, EPA is supposed to finalize biomass-based diesel volumes 14 months in advance of the applicable year, making the agency significantly overdue in setting the volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016.