Pruitt Takes a Bow in Iowa: EPA Chief Touts Optimism, RFS Rules and Different Regulatory Philosophy Under Trump
by Chris Clayton (DTN The Progressive Farmer) … In a large farm shop with ethanol and biodiesel posters adorning the walls, Pruitt touted his two biofuels announcements in recent weeks. He noted EPA had struggled under the Obama administration to meet the Nov. 30 deadline for the Renewable Fuel Standard volume obligations, but EPA hit the deadline this year.
“I made a commitment during the confirmation process that Congress has told the EPA to get those volume obligations by Nov. 30, and we’re going to do it,” Pruitt said. “As we began the discussion internal to the agency, there wasn’t much optimism.”
Pruitt then said the RFS cap for corn-based ethanol is 15 billion gallons authorized under the statute. But Pruitt touted the ethanol export volumes happening now.
“We’re exporting about 1 billion gallons of ethanol every year, at least, and I’m hearing that Mexico is looking at adopting a statute similar to what we have domestically that will encourage further exports of ethanol,” Pruitt said. “I think that’s exciting.”
Pruitt also said the other announcement that didn’t draw as much attention was the decision to deny several petitions to shift the point of obligation in the RFS from refiners to retails.
“That was something that, as we looked at that, we wanted to provide clarity in the market, and that was very important to do,” Pruitt said to applause. “That, along with the volume obligations being done on time, will provide a lot of certainty.” READ MORE
Challenges remain for Iowa renewable fuels advocates (The Gazette)
EPA’s Pruitt Hints at Possibly Expanding Conventional Ethanol Mandate (DTN The Progressive Farmer)
Crappie Masters Pleased with Final RVO (Energy.AgWired.com)
The EPA Wants More Ethanol in Your Gas (The Drive)
Excerpt from The Gazette: “It is imperative, absolutely imperative that we have RIN reform in some way,” Pruitt said. “We have to look at whatever steps that we have available in the toolbox to address RIN abuse and the high RIN cost.”
Shaw (Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association) said one way to lower costs for refiners would be to make high-volume ethanol blends like E15 legal to sell year-round. Currently, E15 cannot be sold during the summer months, Shaw said.
Shaw said more E15 sold would mean more RIN, which would drive down costs.
Pruitt, during his remarks at the Friday afternoon event near Nevada, said his agency is studying whether it has the legal standing to approve E15 for year-round sale. He said if it is determined the agency can do so without Congressional approval, it will make E15 available year-round. If not, Pruitt said he would make a recommendation to Congress to change the law. READ MORE
Excerpt from DTN The Progressive Farmer: While some have criticized EPA for not increase its biofuel targets for biomass-based biodiesel and conventional ethanol, Pruitt said in a December 1 interview with KCCI TV in Des Moines that the agency sets the mandate targets “as objectively as possible.” When the export of ethanol is put into the mix, Pruitt said he was “encouraged” that the industry could “break the cap.” Should that happen, Pruitt said, “We can reset that number and go above the cap.” READ MORE