Dec 08, 2021
Washington, D.C. Dec. 7, 2021. The much-anticipated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement on Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) brings with it a mixed bag of reactions ranging from thankful to slightly frustrated. EPA’s volumes for 2020 and 2021 are down, but the future looks bright with a 2022 volume that’s the highest ever announced by the agency.
In another twist, the agency’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s guidance on small refinery exemptions (SREs) has resulted in the agency announcing a proposed rule recommending it deny all 65 pending requests. EPA will open a 30-day public comment period to make a final determination on those denials and has shared its intent on evaluating how to reconcile future exemption requests.
Kevin Scott, soybean farmer from Valley Springs, South Dakota, and American Soybean Association (ASA) president said, “We are appreciative that EPA has released its decision on these numbers that are critical to implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), but of course we would have liked to have seen higher retroactive numbers for 2020 and 2021. And, we would like to have the 2023 volume announcement that was due the end of November. We are heartened, however, by the 2022 RVO and hope 2023 remains on that upward trajectory.”
Another positive for the industry is USDA’s corresponding announcement of $800-million in pandemic assistance for the biofuels sector, an answer that had been pending for some time.
ASA has vocally supported both increased annual blending requirements and the denial of waivers, or SREs, which erode the integrity of the RFS. Biodiesel is a key market for soy that uses soy oil at the same time soy meal can be used for protein-packed animal feed, and it is a clean-burning fuel alternative that likewise demonstrates soy growers’ commitment to using their U.S.-grown beans in more places more sustainably.
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