11-23-16 CO Corn: EPA sets 2017 conventional renewable volumes at 15.0 billion gallons, putting ethanol production back on track with original RFS statute

Colorado Corn LogoEPA sets 2017 conventional renewable volumes at 15.0 billion gallons,
putting ethanol production back on track with original RFS statute

The Colorado Corn Growers Association (CCGA) and corn producers across the country applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “move in the right direction” today, as the agency released its final rule for 2017 conventional renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

CCGA officials stressed their appreciation to the EPA for choosing to follow the original Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) statute from 2007, by setting renewable volume obligations (RVO) for conventional renewables – largely grain-based ethanol – at 15.0 billion gallons for 2017. In a proposal released earlier this year, the EPA had called for capping conventional renewables at 14.8 billion gallons – above the 2016 RVO of 14.5 billion, but below the 15.0 billion the 2007 RFS statute had set for 2017.

“Several years ago, the RFS was put into law based on the common-sense approach of diversifying our nation’s fuel sources, lessening U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and also on the sound science that shows the reduced overall toxicity of ethanol emissions compared to gasoline,” Colorado Corn CEO Mark Sponsler said. “The ethanol industry and corn producers have done their part for several years in achieving each of those objectives, and then some, and the EPA’s decision today to put the renewable volume obligations back on track with the original RFS statue helps them in continuing their vital mission.”

This summer, several CCGA board members and other producers submitted comments to the EPA regarding the agency’s proposal for renewable volume obligations under the RFS. CCGA’s efforts – which included submitting letters to the editor and other outreach endeavors – helped lead Sen. Michael Bennet to join dozens of other senators in signing onto a letter to the EPA, telling the agency the final rule must promote growth in U.S. biofuels and economic opportunity. CCGA also sent Chris Van Roekel, a CSU mechanical engineering PhD candidate, to Kansas to testify at an EPA hearing.

Despite the often-stated misconception, the RFS is not a “subsidy,” as it has zero impact on the federal budget and tax revenues. It’s simply a program designed to provide a measure of market access for lower-carbon, domestic, renewable fuels, in a market where virtually every drop is blended and distributed by petroleum interests.

Like CCGA, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) also applauded today’s EPA announcement.

“Today the EPA moved in the right direction by increasing the 2017 ethanol volume to statute,” NCGA President Wesley Spurlock said. “This is critical for farmers facing difficult economic times, as well as for consumers who care about clean air, affordable fuel choices, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil. The Renewable Fuel Standard has been one of America’s great policy success stories. It has improved our energy independence, our air quality, and our rural economies.”

“Although we believe the EPA did not have authority to reduce the ethanol numbers in the first place, we are pleased to see the RVO finally back on track,” Spurlock continued. “Moving forward, we call on the EPA to continue following the law and keep the RFS on track. Doing so will bring much-needed stability to the marketplace, providing greater certainty for farmers and the industry while also spurring increased investment in renewable fuels. Together with both public and private sector partners, NCGA will continue working to grow our national fuel infrastructure so that consumers have greater access to renewable fuels. America’s corn farmers are proud to grow a cleaner-burning, renewable fuel source for America and the world. Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact the EPA in support of the RFS and renewable fuels.”

Colorado Corn, based in Greeley, is made up of the Colorado Corn Growers Association and Colorado Corn Administrative Committee. The Colorado Corn Growers Association (CCGA) is comprised of dues-paying members who are politically active, focusing on policy that impacts corn producers and agriculture in general. The Colorado Corn Administrative Committee (CCAC) oversees how Colorado’s corn check-off dollars (one penny per bushel of corn produced in the state) are spent on research, market development, outreach, education and other various endeavors. See more about the work of the two organizations at www.coloradocorn.com.