EPA: Demand For Biofuels Matters When Setting RFS

Des Moines, Iowa (RadioIowa) — Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt says regulators cannot ignore past performance when setting the federally-mandated production levels for renewable fuels.

Iowa officials and industry groups have asked the E-P-A to raise the proposed volume levels for soybean-based biodiesel and for “cellulosic” ethanol that’s made from plant material rather than just the starch from corn kernels.

Leaders in the biodiesel industry argue the production mandate Pruitt’s agency has proposed for biodiesel in 2019 is lower than current consumption. And advocates urge Pruitt to boost the 2018 production mandate for the emerging cellulosic ethanol industry. Pruitt calls that a “blue sky approach.”

Pruitt says he doesn’t want his agency “being used” to spur the expansion of biofuel facilities.

The E-P-A’s recommended production level for “conventional” ethanol that’s made from corn starch is maxed out at 15 billion gallons. Pruitt suggests that cap might need to be raised, plus Pruitt says it’s time to explore how to boost exports of American-made ethanol.

Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, says he’s fulfilling his promise that the E-P-A will meet the November deadline for setting next year’s biofuels mandates. There were delays in setting the yearly Renewable Fuels Standard during President Obama’s second term.

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