Ethanol Says RFS Reduction Would Go Against President's Energy Plan

EPA's proposal to reduce renewable fuel volumes contradicts findings in recently released National Climate Assessment, ethanol coalition says in letter to Administration

Published on: May 9, 2014

Data from the National Climate Assessment, released earlier this week by the White House, shows that current renewable fuel volumes must be retained in order to accomplish climate goals, a coalition of ethanol groups said in a letter sent to President Obama Thursday.

Groups say the RFS policy, which mandates production volumes for biofuels, creates jobs and strengthens investments in new biofuel production facilities.

The Environmental Protection Agency, facilitator of the RFS, suggested a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in renewable fuel production requirements in its most recent volume proposal last fall, down from 16.5 billion gallons in 2013 to 15.2 in 2014. A decision on the final volume levels is expected before the end of spring, EPA has said.

EPAs proposal to reduce renewable fuel volumes contradicts findings in recently released National Climate Assessment, ethanol coalition says in letter to Administration
EPA's proposal to reduce renewable fuel volumes contradicts findings in recently released National Climate Assessment, ethanol coalition says in letter to Administration

The Administration's proposal to reduce the amount of renewable fuel in gasoline and diesel would "make us more oil dependent," the groups wrote in the letter. They argue an RFS change would effectively gut the bipartisan policy and "strand billions of dollars in private investment."

The groups also say that without the current RFS levels, emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants could increase sharply.

According to Biotechnology Industry Organization figures presented in the letter, the Administration's proposal to lower RFS volumes would increase carbon pollution by an estimated 28.2 million metric tons in 2014 alone, an equivalent to building seven new coal fired power plants or cancelling every wind farm project currently under construction in the United States, they say.

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"The good news is that our nation has reduced energy related emissions of carbon pollution in recent years and we can achieve further reductions as we move to clean energy sources like wind, solar and renewable biofuels," the letter said. "The bad news is that the Administration, under heavy pressure from the global oil industry, has proposed to significantly reduce the renewable fuel content of gasoline and diesel this year."

Ultimately, groups say, the question comes down to either reliance on foreign oil, or American biofuels – and keeping the RFS is central to producing more biofuel. "We urge you to reconsider the EPA proposal and the methodology for reducing the volumes," they concluded.

The letter is signed by Abengoa Bioenergy, the Advanced Ethanol Council, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, DuPont, DSM, Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association, Novozymes, the Renewable Fuels Association, and POET.