Backtracking on the Renewable Fuel Standard Could Harm Rural America, the Economy and the Environment
But some argue that capping the price of RINs â€” the credits purchased from other refineries who have exceeded their blending obligation rather than blending in-house â€” would undermine the merits of the program and effectively stifle growth of the biofuels industry.
In an article recently published in The Hill, former Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who was an original contributing author of the renewable fuel standard, outlines the impact this move would have on the American biofuels industry â€” both ethanol producers and the biodiesel industry, as well as the environmental impact of rolling back measures which have resulted in a more than 80% reduction in carbon emissions since biodiesel has been produced for commercial use nationwide.
According to Dorgan: â€œAnalysis by the National Biodiesel Board and the World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services found that capping the price of conventional biofuel RINs would significantly harm the production of biodiesel and related industries. This harm includes a reduction of up to 300 million gallons in biomass-based diesel volumes each year, $185 million more in feed costs for livestock producers, likely leading to an increase in food costs for consumers, and $0.16 less per bushel for soybeans.â€
Dorgan lauds the US biodiesel industry as a â€˜spectacular successâ€™ that currently provides more than 64,000 Americanâ€™s with jobs, contributing in excess of US$11 billion to the economy, with the potential to grow further still. It is simply ludicrous to reward a small minority of refiners who cry foul, to the detriment of an entire industry and the workforce and economy it supports.
â€œThose pushing for changes like a RIN cap say they want a â€œwin-winâ€ solution. But they are pushing to fix something that isnâ€™t broken with a plan that will be a loser for the renewable fuels industry,â€ says Dorgan. â€œThe Trump administration shouldnâ€™t try to appease this small segment of refiners who oppose the RFS program at the expense of biodiesel and rural America. The RFS is not broken. It works. The president has been a supporter of the RFS, and he is in a position to make decisions that will continue to grow renewable fuels in Americaâ€™s future.â€
Wise words indeed. We hope that President Trump thinks this through properly, giving due consideration to what is truly at stake for America, Mother Earth, and the environment rather than just a few who are more concerned about their own vested interests.