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Final RVO rule leaves waiver loophole open

The National Corn Growers Association said the EPA’s final 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) moves renewable fuels and energy security forward in 2019, but the growth will only be realized if EPA does not grant refiners further RFS exemptions.

“We are pleased the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintained the implied conventional ethanol volume of 15 billion gallons and increased the total 2019 renewable fuel volume as intended by the RFS. However, EPA granted refineries 2.25 billion gallons in RFS waivers over the past year but did nothing to account for those lost volumes. If EPA continues to grant large amounts of waivers in this manner, the volumes set in this final rule cannot be met,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president.

In comments on the rule, NCGA and its grower members urged EPA to take steps to maintain the integrity of the RFS, including projecting 2019 waivers and accounting for those gallons to keep the RFS volumes whole. By failing to account for waivers in this final rule, EPA ensures that any 2019 exemptions will reduce the volumes the agency sets.

“Ethanol has been and continues to be a strong market for U.S. corn farmers, especially during these tough times in the farm economy. When the EPA continues to grant waivers and does not account for those volumes in this rule, domestic demand for our crop is lost, impacting farmers’ livelihood and the economy of rural America,” Chrisp said.

NCGA will continue to work with EPA to ensure the full energy and environmental benefits of the RFS are achieved. As EPA implements this volume rule, as well as considers pending petitions for RFS exemptions, NCGA urges the agency to prevent further demand destruction and support a strong RFS that will benefit America’s farmers and rural communities, provide cleaner air and boost our nation’s energy security.

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