In a letter sent to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy on Tuesday, the entire Iowa Congressional delegation urged EPA to set the next round of Renewable Fuel Standard volume levels in line with the statute originally passed by Congress. That is, 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol and an aggressive biodiesel target.
"We applaud Iowa's delegation for standing united and leading the way to tell the EPA to follow the law and get the RFS back on track," says Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw. "While we were disappointed with last year's RFS volume rule from the EPA, 2016 is a new year and there will be a new RFS proposed rule. This time, let's get it right."
Urging EPA to set strong renewable fuel levels for 2017
Shaw made his remarks at the 2016 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, held Tuesday at Altoona, a suburb of Des Moines. Three members of the Iowa Congressional delegation were present and held a press conference at the summit to explain and comment on the letter. The three were Representatives Steve King and David Young, both Republicans, and Representative Dave Loebsack, a Democrat.
The EPA is expected to release its next proposed rule for the RFS no later than June of this year. The proposal is expected to include the 2017 conventional biofuels target and the 2018 biomass based diesel target, along with other advanced biofuel and total RFS volumes.
Now is time to expand availability of higher blends of biofuel
The Congressional letter to EPA noted: "We appreciate your public commitment to getting the RFS back on track and view this year's RFS levels as the opportunity to meet that commitment...Our agricultural base in Iowa, serving as feedstock for ethanol and biodiesel production, has near record supplies of excess corn. In addition, low oil prices have spurred surging fuel demand and large retailers of gasoline are embracing higher ethanol blends. Furthermore, the United States is importing record amounts of foreign biodiesel from countries like Argentina and Canada, despite growing domestic capacity. For these reasons EPA should set a 2017 level for conventional biofuels at 15 billion gallons and set an aggressive biomass-based diesel level for 2018."
The letter was signed by U.S. Senators. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Representatives Steve King, Dave Loebsack, Rob Blum and David Young. To view a copy of the letter, please click here.
Iowa is the nation's leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4 billion gallons annually, including nearly 55 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information visit www.IowaRFA.org.