The Environmental Protection Agency finalized the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard volume levels last week.
The numbers are consistent with the numbers proposed earlier this year. Ethanol will be maintained at the 15 billion gallon target set by Congress and advanced biofuels will increase to 4.92 billion gallons.
But the Iowa Renewable Fuel Association says it does not account for the court order to restore 500 million gallons of biofuels cut from the 2016 RFS.
Executive Director Monte Shaw says, "This was the first rule that the EPA could have followed the court order to add the 500 million gallons back that were illegally cut from the 2016 numbers. Those were conventional biofuel gallons that need to be put back for conventional biofuels."
The EPA's new volume numbers also do not account for the nearly 1.5 billion gallons lost to controversial small-refiner waivers last year. Three hundred million of that was in biodiesel.
Shaw says they would like to be optimistic about the more stable Renewable Volume Obligation numbers, but the threat of more small refiner exemptions leaves the rule hollow.
The USDA and Renewable Fuel Association recommended the EPA reallocate and account for gallons lost to small refiner waivers.
Shaw says, "And they did not do this, we feel they had the power to do it, we felt they ought to do it. 15 billion gallons was supposed to mean 15 billion gallons. That did not happen and we're very disappointed. And that's why we can't be really excited about the numbers for 2019 that they rolled out."
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst made a statement on the announcement of the volume numbers echoing industry complaints, "It is disappointing that the gallons lost through the unprecedented handing out of small refinery waivers were not addressed. After meeting with Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Wednesday, I’m hopeful that we’re done with former Administrator Pruitt’s mishandling of the RFS and waiver process."
Ernst adds now that the rule is finalized, the EPA should move forward on year-round E-15 fuel blends.