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Trump breaks promise to rural America with renewable volume obligations

The NFU conveys frustration with Trump's broken promises around biofuels.

19 December 2019, at 5:23pm

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020.

As outlined in a supplemental proposed rule in October, the RVOs will account for a portion of the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels eliminated over the past three years due to the rampant misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs). Rather than determine relief using an actual three-year average of exempted gallons, the agency has instead used much lower values recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE). The former would have increased the amount of biofuels in the transportation sector by approximately 1.35 billion gallons per year, while the latter will increase it by just 770 million gallons.

National Farmers Union (NFU), a strong proponent of biofuels and the RFS, was disappointed with EPA’s proposal when it was first released and urged the agency to account for all 4 billion gallons worth of demand in the final rule. In a statement, NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew restated the organisation’s mounting frustration with the administration’s destructive approach to biofuels policy:

“Family farmers are sick and tired of this biofuels bait and switch. Long before he was elected, President Trump promised to support the American ethanol industry, yet his EPA has done nothing but undermine its success. By indiscriminately granting so-called “hardship exemptions” to multi-billion-dollar oil corporations, this administration has cost hardworking family farmers billions of dollars in lost sales, eliminated thousands of jobs, and slowed economic growth in rural communities across the country.

“In response to farmers’ appropriate anger, President Trump made another promise to undo the needless damage caused by the EPA – yet another promise he hasn’t kept with today’s RVOs. This meager solution falls significantly short of the relief the biofuels industry needs to recover from three years of outright sabotage.

“How many more times must family farmers endure broken promises and disappointment? If this administration intends to make amends, it will not only compensate for all 4 billion gallons of demand lost to small refinery exemptions – it will also aggressively promote the widespread adoption of biofuels by replacing gasoline aromatics with ethanol and expanding the use of higher level blends of ethanol.”