IFB members to testify on RFS proposal

Five Illinois Farm Bureau members, including Vice President Brian Duncan, will trek to Michigan this week to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The group will join delegations from other state Farm Bureaus during a hearing Wednesday on EPA’s proposed changes to the RFS. Each speaker will have three minutes to testify.

EPA seeks comment on its plan to calculate the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 because of small refinery exemptions “based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions.”

(Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

“It’s a critical time,” said Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development. “We are being encouraged to make our feelings known about how they’re going to calculate the lost gallons to the small refinery exemptions.”

He called the proposal a “huge surprise.”

“I don’t think we were expecting we were going to be talking about what the Department of Energy recommended to EPA. We were hoping it would be a three-year average of what EPA has been doing because it’s been much higher than the Department of Energy recommendations,” Nielsen told the RFD Radio Network. “There’s been some backlash in our world. We will have a chance to talk about the value of the RFS again and maintaining the integrity of it going forward.”

Also this week, a U.S. House subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Protecting the RFS: The Trump administration’s abuse of secret waivers.”

Geoff Cooper, head of the Renewable Fuels Association, plans to testify.

“We will certainly be sharing with the committee our views on the damage wrought by these exemptions and our views how to rectify this problem,” Cooper said, adding the “goal posts keep shifting” on a fix.

“We had both EPA and the president say, very recently, that the agreement should result in more than 15 billion gallons. The president at one point said, we’re going to be close to 16 billion gallons by the time this is all said and done. So now, the sands have shifted and they’re portraying the deal as a net 15 billion gallons only.”

Cooper said even that might not be possible using DOE estimates of lost gallons.

Washington Correspondent Matt Kaye contributed to this story.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.