New Administration Releases First Biofuel Numbers

The EPA has released its first Renewable Fuel Standard proposal while under the Trump Administration.

Numbers are up for ethanol maintained at it's 15 billion gallon cap for 2018, President Trump fulfilled that campaign promise. But the biodiesel number stayed the same at 2.1 billion gallons for 2019, below the industry request of 2.75 billion gallons.

The new EPA Administrator Scot Pruitt says in the statement, “We are proposing new volumes consistent with market realities focused on actual production and consumer demand while being cognizant of the challenges that exist in bringing advanced biofuels into the marketplace."

The ethanol number has found widespread support in the agriculture community while the flat lined biodiesel number has not.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw says if the proposal is finalized, it would be the first time biodiesel has not had higher numbers.

Shaw says, "The press release and the statements put out by the EPA, were full of, 'Hey, market demand. We have to be realistic. Let's align this with market realities.' Well the market reality in 2016 was 2.9 billion gallons of biodiesel and biomass-based diesel. Well then why wouldn't, three years later, you think you could at least sell that much if not more?"

Shaw adds this is a proposal and can still be commented on over the next 30 days. Many EPA Renewable Fuel Standard proposals have changed after the comment period.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says in a statement, “I am disappointed biodiesel levels are not higher, but Iowa will continue working with the administration to increase marketplace opportunities for biodiesel."

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she is happy about the ethanol requirements but not so on the biodiesel number. However, she would like biodiesel to more accurately reflect usage and production.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley called the RFS proposal a mixed bag, saying the cut to biodiesel would have a chilling effect on the push toward biofuels.

The EPA says it is on track to meet the November 30th deadline for the proposed volumes.