Proposed EPA fuel standards get mixed reviews | Business – Local News

DES MOINES — Biofuels advocates made their voices heard Aug. 1 as they testified at an annual Environmental Protection Agency public hearing in Washington, D.C.

Speaking to reporters by teleconference before the hearing, leaders of the renewable fuels industry voiced support for the EPA’s 15-billion-gallon proposed Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) level for ethanol usage in 2018. But they said they were disappointed by the proposal for just 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2019 and by the cut in the RFS for cellulosic ethanol to only 17 million gallons.

“Ethanol is important for our country,” Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts told reporters during the teleconference, which was hosted by Fuels America, a biofuel industry organization.

He said ethanol is a key octane enhancer — use allows fuel companies to reduce levels of carcinogens in fuel.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was among the speakers at the hearing applauding the federal government’s proposed renewable fuel volumes for 2018, but farm-state and renewable energy industry officials expressed concern that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was “backpedaling” on future advanced biofuel production.

Reynolds and others testified at a hearing in Washington that fuel production levels will drive demand and investment decisions critical to the industry and rural economies.

“As the current ag economy experiences a downturn,” Reynolds testified, “sustainable and predictable renewable fuels markets are incredibly impactful to the bottom line of farmers and rural Iowa.”

She and others expressed hope the EPA would adjust the numbers before issuing a final rule in November.

During the teleconference, several industry leaders said the levels set for advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol made from corn stover or other feedstocks was clearly too low. The industry…

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