Ag News

EPA finalizes 2019 RFS and 2020 biomass-based fuel volumes

On Nov. 30 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that establishes the required renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2019, and biomass-based diesel for 2020. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set the volumes of use of these fuels each year.

“Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, will be maintained at the implied 15 billion-gallon target set by Congress for 2019.

Advanced biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by 630 million gallons over the 2018 standard.

Cellulosic biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by almost 130 million gallons over the 2018 standard.

Biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 will increase by 330 million gallons over the standard for 2019. 

The National Corn Growers Assocation (NCGA) applauded the new standards but said the EPA did not account for fuel refineries’ waivers from adhering to the standard volumes. The NCGA said the growth established in the new standards will only be realized if the EPA does not grant additional RFS exemption. 

“We are pleased the EPA maintained the implied conventional ethanol volume of 15 billion gallons and increased the total 2019 renewable fuel volume as intended by the RFS. However, EPA granted refineries 2.25 billion gallons in RFS waivers over the past year but did nothing to account for those lost volumes. If EPA continues to grant large amounts of waivers in this manner, the volumes set in this final rule cannot be met,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp.

In comments on the rule, NCGA and its grower members urged EPA to take steps to maintain the integrity of the RFS, including projecting 2019 waivers and accounting for those gallons to keep the RFS volumes whole. By failing to account for waivers in this final rule, EPA ensures that any 2019 exemptions will reduce the volumes the agency set.