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Soybean growers unhappy with EPA

• Dec 7, 2017 at 8:00 AM

The American Soybean Association (ASA) calls the final biodiesel and advanced biofuels volumes released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) another example of a missed opportunity to capture the full potential and value of biodiesel.

In the rule, EPA calls for biomass-based diesel volumes within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) of 2.1 billion gallons for 2019, the same level established for 2018, while for advanced biofuels volumes, EPA has proposed 4.29 billion gallons for 2018, only slightly above the 4.28 level established for 2017.

In a statement, ASA President Ron Moore of Illinois pointed to the increased capacity of the domestic industry to meet demand for renewable fuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

“It’s fair to say that we’re very frustrated yet again by the lack of growth in these volumes by EPA; we can do more, and we’ve shown that year after year,” Moore said. “The flat nature of the biomass-based diesel and advanced biodiesel volumes continues to be a missed opportunity to capitalize on a valuable market for soybean oil.

“It has always been our hope that the Administration does what it can to provide farmers and related businesses opportunities to succeed. There is great potential in the biodiesel industry to do that, while creating jobs, diversifying our fuel supply and reducing our dependence on foreign oil at the same time, but not without progressive increases to these volumes in the RFS.

“We’re disappointed today, as we had originally pushed for a level of 2.5 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel in 2019 and 4.75 billion gallons of total advanced biofuels for 2018, but we’ll continue in our work to develop even greater capacity within our industry, and we urge EPA and the administration to take another look at biodiesel and the value U.S. soybean farmers bring to the domestic energy discussion,” Moore concluded.

The soybean growers’ response is contrary to that of U.S. corn growers.

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), also issued a statement in response to the EPA’s final 2018 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the RFS.

“NCGA is pleased to see the EPA meet the administration’s commitment to keep the RFS on track when it comes to conventional ethanol,” Skunes said. “Not only has EPA hit the mark with the 15 billion-gallon implied target, but EPA has also improved on the proposed rule by correctly growing the total 2018 volume from the 2017 level as intended in the RFS.”

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