Hinson bill prevents EPA from retroactively reducing RFS RVOs

By Erin Voegele | November 23, 2021

Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, on Nov. 23 introduced the Defend the Blend Act, which aims to prevent the U.S. EPA from retroactively reducing Renewable Fuel Standard blend requirements. Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; Angie Craig, D-Minn.; and Ron Kind, D-Wis., are cosponsoring the bill.

The legislation would prohibit the EPA from reducing renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS once those RVOs are finalized for any given compliance year. Despite the fact that EPA finalized the 2020 RVOs nearly two years ago—in December 2019—the administration is rumored to be considering a retroactive reduction of those 2020 RVOs as part of an upcoming RFS rulemaking expected to propose RVOs for RFS compliance years 2021 and 2022.

"Rumors abound that the EPA is going to retroactively reduce biofuel blending requirements for 2020—before they’ve even set levels for 2021 and 2022; this would be detrimental to Iowa’s biofuel industry,” Hinson said. “My bipartisan bill will hold the Administration accountable for maintaining the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard and give biofuel and ethanol producers the certainty they deserve.”

The Defend the Blend Act has been endorsed by the American Farm Bureau, Growth Energy, POET, ADM, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Biodiesel Board, Green Plains, National Farmers Union, the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, and the Iowa Soybean Association.
“NBB and its members thank Congresswoman Hinson, Congresswoman Craig, Congressman Davis, and Congressman Kind for leading this effort to ensure reliability, certainty and timeliness in RFS volumes,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs at NBB. “If the EPA lowers previously set rules, it will destroy demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel, hobble small biofuel producers, and undercut the nation’s goals to create jobs and a cleaner environment,” 
“We thank Reps. Hinson, Craig, Davis, Kind, and the co-sponsors of this bill for their efforts to ensure both oil refiners and EPA are being held accountable,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “The Renewable Fuel Standard was intended to provide long-term market certainty and predictability for our nation’s ethanol producers, farmers, fuel retailers, and other market participants. Retroactively slashing renewable volume obligations long after they have been set would throw the RFS program into turmoil and reward a small group of defiant oil refiners for their bad behavior. RFA strongly supports this bill because it would prevent refiners from rigging the game and it would keep EPA from moving the goalposts.”

"We thank Representatives Ashley Hinson, Angie Craig, Rodney Davis, and Ron Kind for introducing the Defend the Blend Act, legislation that would offer more certainty in the marketplace, especially as we await the 2021 and 2022 RVOs from EPA,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “The Renewable Fuel Standard was put into place to blend more low-carbon biofuels into our nation’s transportation fuel supply and includes a built-in mechanism that adjusts for any changes in fuel demand. Retroactively changing RVO levels is completely unwarranted. It is unnecessary, adds uncertainty to the marketplace, and far exceeds EPA’s legal authority.”  


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