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EPA chief says ‘production levels & demand matter’ when setting RFS

Biofuels industry groups and many Midwestern politicians want the EPA to raise the proposed RFS volume levels for biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol.

But EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says regulators cannot ignore past performance when setting those levels.

“Production levels and demand matter and that’s something that’s going to be a major part of how we set those limits,” Pruitt says.

Leaders in the biodiesel industry argue the proposed production mandate for biodiesel in 2019 is lower than current consumption. And ethanol advocates are urging Pruitt to boost the 2018 production mandate for the emerging cellulosic ethanol industry.

Pruitt calls that a “blue sky approach.”

“Has the infrastructure been built to increase production levels? The markets haven’t demonstrated that yet.” Pruitt says. “We’re supposed to set volume obligations that are consistent with objective criteria. The most important of those criteria include, in my view, production levels and demand.”

Pruitt says he doesn’t want his agency “being used” to spur the expansion of biofuel facilities.

Pruitt made those comments in an exclusive interview with the Radio Iowa news network.

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