EPA Faces Renewable Fuels Decision

It’s up to the Environmental Protection Agency to decide if the agency tacks added renewable fuel gallons onto it’s pending 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard rule, now that a federal court ruled against EPA’s method for figuring ‘14 through ’16 volumes.

Kathy Bergren with the National Corn Growers Association says after a federal court decided EPA exceeded its authority in reducing 2014-to-’16 RFS volume targets in statute, the agency must now figure out what to do with unused gallons…

“For corn growers, that 2016 rule was a reduction of about 500 million gallons from where the statute the EPA intended for that year. So, that’s kind of the amount of fuel in question.  So, we’ll have to see if EPA addresses that through additional gallons, or whether using RINS, or some combination.” 

RINS or Renewable Identification Numbers—now abundant—are credits bought and sold by refiners and blenders to meet RFS requirements. But Bergren says going forward, EPA will have to follow the law more strictly…

“When the law says ‘inadequate domestic supply’, it means supply, it doesn’t say ‘supply and demand’ because that’s not what the law says.  But, I think the corn growers are pleased with the decision, but we have some work ahead to see how EPA is going to propose to comply with this decision.”



EPA’s 2018 proposed RFS target for cellulosic ethanol is 73 million gallons less than 2017, while its biodiesel number is also less than industry wanted, possibly it argues, discouraging investment. EPA proposed to keep conventional ethanol at 15-billion gallons, the statutory limit.

The final 2018 RFS rule is due out in November.

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