(Johnston) -- Supporters of maintaining President Trump's deal regarding Renewable Fuel Standards have made their feelings known to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
Shenandoah native Monte Shaw, the IRFA's executive director, says more than 800 individuals signed a statement sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, urging that Small Refinery Exemptions issued on RFS levels not destroy the biofuel demand. Last Friday was the EPA's deadline for public comments on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel exempt in 2020 due to SREs based on a three-year average recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Monday morning, Shaw says the SREs have had an adverse effect on the ethanol and biofuels industries.
"It's really devastated the market," said Shaw. "It's really hurt ethanol, ethanol prices. It's hurt corn and corn prices, and there was quite an outcry. The president heard this, and said, 'hey, we're going to fix this.' Supposedly, he was going to put forth a proposal that would kind of restore the integrity of the RFS, make the numbers whole again to the way the law was intended. But, the EPA rolled out a rule that didn't exactly do that. They didn't put certainty back to the RFS. So, there was quite a bit of action during this comment period to tell the EPA, 'hey stick to what the president promised, fix the RFS, fix this rule.' That comment period closed on Friday."
Shaw says feedback sent to the EPA before the deadline indicated people were upset over how the RFS levels were implemented.
"Basically, the EPA is saying, 'well, our fix could work, if we decide to do it in the future--that kind of thing,'" he said. "With all due respect, the way they've implemented the RFS over the last few years, nobody trusts the EPA to do it right in the future, unless their hands are tied. And, quite frankly, it's not supposed to be up the EPA. Congress passed a law, it's the law of the land, and the EPA is supposed to implement it."
With the comment period's ending, Shaw and other Iowa officials now await the EPA's ruling, which is expected before the end of the year.
"It's going to have a huge impact," said Shaw. "I really do think it's going to set the stage for whether the RFS is going to be a meaningful policy going forward, or whether basically it's been undermined under this administration. I think there's a lot at stake for farmers. I think there's a lot at stake for President Trump's relationship heading into the election year. This is a big deal."
Shaw is also among those calling on the EPA to maintain the previously-agreed upon reallocation level of 15 billion gallons set back in September. You can hear the full interview with Monte Shaw on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.