As embattled farm, biofuel, and rural communities and economies look to the Trump Administration to maintain promises to support American biofuel production, National Farmers Union is calling on the administration to increase Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations when they finalize them this fall. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed lowering these obligations, which would undermine growth of the American-grown and produced biofuel industry.
NFU President Roger Johnson today submitted public comments to that effect, contending the EPA should be working to support the RFS law, and therefore American family farmers, rural communities and the environment.
“EPA’s proposal on advanced biofuels falls seriously short of preserving the integrity of the RFS – which is to drive the biofuels market and grow the industry,” said Johnson. “It fails to advance the intent of Congress and loses many additional benefits that come with increased volumes of biofuels. As such, NFU urges EPA to increase the proposed volumes and reject any calls to further reduce the required volumes.”
Johnson noted that family farmers are currently facing significant economic distress, and the Administration should be doing what they can to support them and rural communities. “Such support would be through higher volumes than what EPA proposed, not lower ones,” he said.
Specific to the EPA’s current proposals for 2018 RFS volume obligations, Johnson expressed NFU’s concern with the agency’s use of the general waiver authority, which is its ability to reduce the amount of renewable fuels obligated to be blended into the transportation supply. He noted the agency’s justification for using this authority mirrors the views of Big Oil.
“EPA has not gone about this right way,” said Johnson. “They cannot use the general waiver authority unless they meet certain requirements. They haven’t met those requirements, and they also haven’t given us good reasons for why they want to lower the volume obligations under the RFS. On top of that, their most recent proposal outlines the views of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). This is a deeply troubling signal that this Administration is not looking out for the biofuels industry, but rather the petroleum industry.”
“The RFS is an important policy with far-reaching direct and indirect consequences, particularly for farmers. As such, NFU’s policy calls for strong support of the RFS and expanding renewable fuels. NFU strongly encourages EPA to increase the advanced biofuel volume requirements for 2018,” he concluded.