(Reuters) - Biofuels advocates, farmers and oil industry supporters gathered on Thursday to weigh in on U.S. regulators' latest plan for biofuels use requirements.
Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) heard comments from over 100 participants on their plan for how much ethanol and other renewable fuel needs to be blended into motor gasoline and diesel next year, ahead of a Nov. 30 deadline to finalize the proposal.
The following are some of the prepared remarks regarding the EPA's proposal for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for biofuels use next year and biomass-based diesel use in 2018:
American Council for Capital Formation
The "RFS, which enjoyed significant support when first implemented 10 years ago, now faces significant opposition at a critical moment in its history and the wider debate."
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)
"Congress (needs) to repeal or significantly reform the severely flawed and outdated RFS," said Geoff Moody, Senior Director of Government Relations at AFPM.
American Petroleum Institute
"Serious vehicle and retail infrastructure compatibility issues continue to exist with gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol," said Patrick Kelly, API's Senior Fuels Policy Advisor.
Archer Daniels Midland
"The volume requirements continue to fall short of the volumes set by Congress and the methodology remains troubling,” said Sean Miller, senior ethanol trader with ADM.
The market for credits to prove compliance with the program, known as Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), has become a "black pool," with no regulatory oversight and the costs to oil refiners and other parties obligated to prove compliance have "skyrocketed," said Gina Bowman, vice president of government relations at CVR, which alone paid $500 million in compliance costs from 2013-15.
Du Pont Co
Du Pont "believes this latest proposed rule is further undermining the biofuel industry's significant opportunity for growth and contribution to the U.S. renewable energy portfolio," said Nancy Clark, external relations at DuPont Industrial Biosciences, which has a cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada.
"The RFS deems refiners and importers of fuel obligated parties based strictly on their gasoline and diesel production, without regard to a company's ability physically or logistically to introduce biofuels into the fuel supply. This mismatch of our inability to influence products delivered to the customer, and the extraordinary burden of compliance under these circumstances, is a fundamental flaw of the RFS," said Blake Barfield, government affairs at HollyFrontier.
National Biodiesel Board (NBB)
"Ending our dependence on fossil fuels is among the great challenges of our time. Changing the way we power our vehicles requires bold, aggressive action, and the RFS is the most effective policy we have for accomplishing that,” said Anne Steckel, NBB's vice president of federal affairs.
National Corn Growers Association
"Our nation's farmers have responded to the demands of an ever-growing world and produce an abundance of a crop used to feed our people and our livestock and fuel our cars, said Chip Bowling, President of the NCGA.
Pete Ricketts, Governor or Nebraska
"A strong RFS means more jobs here at home, greater energy security, and a cleaner environment," said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.
"The biofuels industry supports more than 852,000 American jobs and creates fuel we need to help our country become energy independent."
Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producer.
Renewable Fuels Association
"The program has been an unequivocal success and has played an important role in reducing petroleum imports, lowering gas prices, improving air quality, and strengthening the economic health of rural America," said Bob Dinneen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the RFA.
(Reporting by Chris Prentice, editing by G Crosse)