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AFPM comments on EPA’s proposed RFS obligations

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) has spoken out in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of its statutory waiver authority to reduce mandated biofuel volumes in recognition of the blend wall in its proposed 2014, 2015 and 2016 renewable volume obligations (RVOs). However, AFPM believes the Agency has overestimated how much ethanol consumers will purchase and the fuel supply can handle.

“EPA’s proposal is overly ambitious, misses the mark and clearly demonstrates why Congress must act to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In acknowledging that the proposal seeks to force more ethanol use than the marketplace can handle, EPA is playing Russian Roulette with fuel supply and consumers. Corn ethanol’s gain would come at the expense of consumers and the environment,” AFPM President Chet Thompson said.

“Although EPA took appropriate actions and recognised the blend wall, it proposed a standard that falls far short of mitigating the potential harm to consumers. The use of ethanol in motor fuels has reached a saturation point and since the Agency did not appropriately address the issue, Congress must,” Thompson continued.

EPA must set the volumes of ethanol and biodiesel that are required to be blended into the US transportation fuel supply under the RFS. EPA missed the deadlines for the 2014 and 2015 RFS regulations, which, by law, should be announced on or before 30 November of each preceding year.

AFPM and the American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a lawsuit against EPA in March 2015 to compel the Agency to issue the overdue rules implementing the RFS. AFPM, API and EPA negotiated a consent decree that requires the Agency to propose the 2015 RVOs by 1 June and finalise the volume standards for 2014 and 2015 by 30 November.

Congress established the RFS under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded the programme two years later under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 primarily to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Ten years later, the US is the largest producer of oil and natural gas and the initial premise of the RFS is no longer valid. That fact, coupled with unrealistic mandates and increasing evidence of ethanol’s harmful impact on consumers and the environment, provide more than sufficient justification for Congress to repeal the RFS.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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