EPA Announces Long-Awaited RVOs

News / Newsline December 7, 2021

Credit: United Soybean Board / CC BY 2.0 

After several months of anticipation, the Biden administration finally released the Renewable Volume Obligations for refiners. Chad Smith has more on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposals.

Smith: The Environmental Protection Agency set biofuel blending volumes for 2022, 2021, and 2020. The agency is also introducing regulatory changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard that will enhance the program’s objectives. Andrew Walmsley, senior director of congressional relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the administration made several important announcements.

Walmsley: The biggest of which being the Renewable Volume Obligations that are required under the Renewable Fuel Standards. They retroactively rescinded some of that demand in 2020 and 2021, which is a little disappointing, but we also recognize the pandemic and overall fuel use. The big announcement, though, is for 2022, where there is definitely a demand-forward look from the announcement, and a full utilization of our homegrown biofuels such as ethanol. And they also announced they declined 65 pending small refinery exemptions that are under consideration at EPA which has been undermining the RFS. This is a positive announcement for biofuels.

Smith: At the same time, the USDA also announced about $800 million in infrastructure funding and pandemic assistance for the biofuels industry. Walmsley says today’s announcement is a mixed bag for agriculture.

Walmsley: Obviously, the 2020 and 2021 RVO announcements are a little disappointing, but the biggest piece is that it appears the administration is recognizing the value of biofuels with the 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations and hopefully this is a major step forward in the administration recognizing the value that biofuels play not only in our rural economy, but also when it comes to the environment.

Smith: He says biofuels play an important part in the success of rural America, but it’s benefits don’t stop there.

Walmsley: It’s obviously an important demand driver but also creates rural jobs, helps reduce costs, and the biggest piece, especially for this administration, is the fact that it reduces greenhouse gases significantly, roughly 71 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking about 18 million cars off the road every year.

Smith: He says more information on the assistance and when it will be available is coming soon. Chad Smith, Washington.

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