Americans for Prosperity urges Trump to waive 2020 RFS RVOs

By Erin Voegele | April 29, 2020

A coalition of 24 organizations, including Americans for Prosperity, sent a letter to President Trump on April 28 urging him waive Renewable Fuel Standard blending requirements for the remainder of the year.

“The pandemic has underscored the need for permanent regulatory reform…” the letter states. “One area that warrants immediate attention is the [RFS].”

“Our organizations have consistently pointed out the clear shortcomings in the RFS, a market-distorting boondoggle that mandates consumer demand for politically connected biofuel companies at the expense of hard-working Americans and the environment,” the letter claims. “Inaccurate projections from 2005 and 2007, an inconsistent annual standard-setting and waiver process, and Congressional inaction, punctuated by agency infighting, underscores the need for repeal of the program.”

The letter urges Trump to direct the U.S. EPA to issue a waiver of 2020 RFS blending obligations “for the remainder of 2020.” The letter claims RFS volumes will exceed consumer demand for biofuels, resulting in greater compliance costs, skyrocketing prices for renewable identification numbers (RINs), and bureaucratic nightmares.

The letter claims that the RFS blending obligations require obligated parties to blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol and states the EPA’s estimates for 2020 transportation fuel use are no longer actuate.  RFS statute, however, only requires obligated parties to meet the program’s percentage standards. For 2020, that standard is 11.56 percent, including the nested requirements of 0.34 percent cellulosic biofuel, 2.1 percent biomass-based diesel, and 2.93 percent advanced biofuel. That means that as fuel consumption falls, so does the total volume of biofuels that obligated parties are required to blend.

The Renewable Fuels Association has spoken out against the claims presented in the letter. "These groups should be ashamed of themselves for trying to capitalize on a global health pandemic to score cheap political points and advance their long-standing anti-farmer, anti-biofuel agenda,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “Out of one side of their mouths they claim to want a 'free market,' and out the other side they lobby for special favors, subsidies and handouts for fossil fuels. Once again, the usual suspects are bringing up the usual outdated and unproved attacks to take aim at the Renewable Fuel Standard. The difference this time is the ethanol industry is now suffering the worst crisis of its history, with half its capacity idled and thousands of jobs on the line. This is not the time to be going after the policy that is providing at least some measure of stability for rural America during an incredibly uncertain economic downturn.  The RFS already provides ample flexibility to adjust with changing conditions in the gasoline and diesel markets. Waiving the law won't help anyone as long as there's a pandemic and oil price war going on. We need the energy security a robust renewable fuels industry offers now more than ever before."

The letter is signed by representatives of Americans for Prosperity, ALEC Action, American Commitment, American Energy Alliance, American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Tax Reform, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Citizens Against Government Waste, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Conserv America, Eagle Forum, Energy and Environment Legal Institute, Ethan Allen Institute, FreedomWorks, Heartland Institute, Heritage Action for America, Institute for Liberty, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Rio Grande Foundation, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Tea Party Patriots, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Life: Powered, and 60 Plus Association. A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from the AFP website