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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The American Coalition of Ethanol (ACE), a group of 1,600 grassroots members supporting ethanol, voiced its support of the final passing of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), signed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Stephen Johnson.
The RFS is the first federal regulation that requires an increased consumption of renewable fuels each year across the nation.
"The Renewable Fuels Standard is a historic program to support ethanol production and use, and we applaud the EPA for its diligent and professional work during this rulemaking process," Brian Jennings, executive vice president for ACE, said in a written statement. "ACE is pleased that the RFS is now finalized and the ethanol industry can begin setting this important national standard into motion."
With the RFS standards in place, U.S. net farm income could increase by more than $5 billion, Jennings said. In addition, increased ethanol use will reduce emissions of CO2 greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide, and benzene, he added.
"While we have not been able to sift through the entire rule, it appears the final regulation closely mirrors the proposed rule, and on balance we are pleased with the outcome," Jennings said.
However, ACE takes issue with the legality and rationale for "equivalency values" that EPA created when the standard was being developed. While Congress assigned cellulosic ethanol with a 2.5:1 credit ratio to encourage new and energy efficient ethanol production processes, which ACE supports, the group is concerned that the EPA used equivalency values that assigned other fuels extra credits based upon BTU content, Jennings stated.
"This is sure to undermine ethanol use by creating 'virtual gallons' and paper credits of other fuels that can be used to replace physical gallons of ethanol. This is inconsistent with the law and a bad policy precedent to set," he added.
With the passing of the RFS, ACE will work with the EPA to present RFS implementation workshops to educate members on compliance requirements of the standard.
The final RS rule is expected to go into effect in September.