The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the final 2018 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (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. 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.
“This year’s corn crop is bigger than anyone anticipated, resulting in the largest carryover supply in 30 years. Farmers want to rely on the marketplace for their income, and ethanol has been critical in our effort to increase profitable demand for U.S. corn.
“While we are concerned that the RVO number for cellulosic ethanol is not set higher than the 2017 volume, we are encouraged EPA raised the level by 50 million gallons above its July proposal. Moving forward, we ask EPA to revisit the growth in cellulosic fuel production, particularly as first-generation ethanol producers expand cellulosic gallons made from feedstocks such as corn kernel fiber.
“The RFS has been a resounding success when it comes to providing cleaner air, greater energy independence and stronger rural communities.
“Moving forward, NCGA remains committed to working with EPA and other partners to achieve the full benefits of the RFS, including continuing efforts with private and public-sector partners to grow our national fuel infrastructure and efforts to remove regulatory barriers to E15 and higher ethanol blends, giving consumers even greater access to cleaner-burning, renewable fuel choices.”