This past year, despite fierce opposition from Big Oil, the biofuels industry had some mighty wins.
Thanks to the tireless work of our bipartisan group of biofuels champions in Congress, along with grassroots efforts across our industry, we secured several sweeping victories.
The Trump administration ruled in our favor and against the refining industry in key decisions in 2017. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintained the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Point of Obligation and increased the 2018 biofuel volumes over its original proposal.
With these decisions, President Trump has followed through on his campaign promise to support biofuels and the RFS, reaffirming to millions of voters across the heartland that this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to our economy and our energy independence.
A statement from the White House proclaimed: “President Donald J. Trump promised rural America that he would protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and has never wavered from that promise. The Trump administration will protect the RFS and ensure that our nation’s hardworking farmers continue to fuel America.”
And in an October 2017 letter to Senate biofuels champions, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected several oil industry proposals that would have halted our progress. In that letter, he also set forth an agenda to work with the industry moving forward. He committed to working with Congress on exploring a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for E15. This waiver is critical to create a more stable environment for mid-level blends and to ensure more consumers have access to E15 across the U.S.
These assurances are a victory for our industry and for agriculture. They come at a pivotal time when family farms are struggling with commodity prices that are below the cost of production. We need to continue to work together to create markets for higher blends that will create more demand for ag commodities and help stabilize rural America.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the efforts of so many of you. Here’s a snapshot of the impact you made in 2017: More than 7,100 hand-written comments were submitted to the EPA from POET team members during the RVO comment period. Growth Energy also had several campaigns over the past year. During the RVO comment period, 706 individuals — including many of you — sent 815 comments. For point of obligation, 528 individuals sent 2,234 comments.
Thanks to your comments and letters on key issues, our voices are being heard in Washington.
But it’s clear that our fight isn’t over. While we have the passion and perseverance — and the truth — on our side, the oil and gas industry continues to make headwinds. We need to stay engaged and ensure our elected officials in Washington stand up to those who seek to undermine American-made biofuels. We need to stay focused and keep up our efforts to stay in this important battle with our opponent.
Our policy priorities in 2018 include securing a year-round fix for RVP that will expand E15 markets. We also want to ensure the path to increased 2019 biofuel volumes remains clear, including cellulosic biofuel. We need to work to help the EPA understand the importance of a viable starch-based industry and aggressive targets for cellulosic and advanced biofuels to stabilize the Midwest economy and to enhance public health and national security.
Many of you have been part of this battle for years, and I want to thank you for being involved. You are the reason we have these victories to celebrate, and with your continued hard work and support we will have even more victories in 2018!