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Iowa Biodiesel Board Urges EPA to Properly Account for RFS Exemptions

October 30, 2019

(ANKENY, Iowa) – The newly elected chair and others from the Iowa Biodiesel Board testified today at the Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing on the supplemental proposal for meeting the volume requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The IBB joined other industry leaders in asking EPA to account for the effect of past small-refinery exemptions and increase advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes that drive growth in renewable fuel production.

Brad Wilson, Chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and President and General Manager of Western Iowa Energy, a biodiesel plant in Wall Lake, Iowa, said in his testimony: 

“EPA’s proposal to account for the number of small refinery exemptions is a positive and needed step towards ensuring that small refinery exemptions do not destroy demand for renewable fuels. Unfortunately, EPA is proposing to use an average of past exemptions recommended by the Department of Energy rather than actual volumes waived as agreed upon by all stakeholders on October 4 at the White House. 

“EPA’s uncertain commitment to upholding the RFS has led to a slow decline in our business. Western Iowa Energy has run at just 66 percent capacity on average for 2019...several other biodiesel producers in Iowa are running at reduced capacity, and at least one has shut down completely. This is a result of the impacts of small refinery exemptions."

Roy Strom, CEO of W2 Fuel, testified that small refinery exemptions played a role in the decision to shut down the company's 10-million gallon biodiesel plant in Crawfordsville, Iowa.

Karen Long, project manager for IBB and the Iowa Soybean Association, also testified at the hearing:

“The only piece of the proposal EPA has proposed to codify into law is that it will make predictions regarding how many small refinery exemptions they will grant for the coming year. However, it does not set in stone how they will make those predictions. This lack of certainty throughout the Supplemental Notice is problematic for the renewable fuels industry.

“Our state’s soybean farmers are also impacted. When the plants produce less biodiesel, they’re not buying products from farmers, like soybean oil, and that harms the farm economy, already under assault. Meanwhile, the oil companies reap profits that should be helping the heartland. When farmers are allowed to participate in the energy market, the American economy wins.”

Renewable Energy Group, headquartered in Ames, Iowa, and ISA farmers and staff also testified at the hearing. 

Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from agricultural byproducts and co-products, such as soybean oil. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.  

For more information on biodiesel, visit 

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