KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the USDA have canceled their event in Missouri on Friday.
Scott Pruitt and Sonny Perdue were originally scheduled to travel to a farm outside of Kansas City where they were initially slated to announce the 2019 renewable fuel volumes, though that announcement has been delayed.
As of 12:30 p.m. Friday, the event has not been rescheduled according to representatives from the EPA and USDA.
The Renewable Fuel Standard program, created in 2005, requires fuel companies to use increasing volumes of renewable fuel each year. The EPA has the authority to provide waivers to small refineries releasing them of that obligation.
Under Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA has more than tripled the number of waivers handed out. The 2019 plan under consideration would force large refiners to blend extra volumes to compensate for the hardship waiver exemptions for small refiners. The idea was met with opposition from the oil industry on Wednesday.
“This backroom deal would flat-out betray consumers, labor, and refinery workers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, and dozens of other states that helped elect this president. To say that we would be livid were this deal to move forward would be a gross understatement,” Chet Thompson, head of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, said.
The plan is being reassessed, which has delayed the announcement, sources told Reuters. The EPA and the White House are hashing out a plan that appeases all parties involved — farmers and industry, alike.
In a letter to Perdue, 55 community leaders from across the Midwest offered their support to combat “special interests seeking to undercut homegrown biofuels and deprive American farmers of a vital market for U.S. crops.” Among the signers were four public officials from Missouri, including Arnold City Councilman EJ Fleischmann and state Reps. Warren Love, Don Rone, and Allen Andrews.
The EPA sent its proposal to the White House in mid-May, according to Office of Management and Budget records. The notice did not contain any details from the proposal.
The RFS requires refiners and importers to blend 19.29 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the US transportation fuel supply in 2018, including an implied 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol. The conventional level is unchanged from 2017. The EPA set the 2019 biodiesel requirement at 2.1 billion gallons, unchanged from the 2018 requirement and up slightly from 2 billion gallons for 2017.
The total 2018 renewable fuel volume represents 10.67% of the US transportation fuel pool.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.