Biobased and Renewable Products News: RFS

August 9, 2019
Toomey-Feinstein RESTORE Act Would Abolish Ethanol Mandate
On July 26, 2019, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) announced that he is working with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Restore Environmental Sustainability to Our Renewable Energy (RESTORE) Act. In an effort to end what Toomey describes as an “egregious form of corporate welfare that hurts the environment and drives up the cost of everything,” the RESTORE Act would abolish the corn ethanol mandate under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Toomey further argues that, because the RFS forces drivers to purchase billions of gallons of corn ethanol annually, it also harms the ... read more >
August 2, 2019
EPA Holds Public Hearing On RVO Proposed Rule Under RFS
On July 31, 2019, EPA held a public hearing in Ypsilanti, MI, to obtain stakeholders’ input on its proposed rule to set Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVO) and 2021 biomass-based diesel volume. Among the various stakeholders providing oral statements to EPA were representatives from Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Hero BX, and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Most of the oral comments provided were in opposition to the proposed rule. Industry representatives highly critized the ... read more >
July 12, 2019
Wheeler Announces Proposed Rule To Set RVOs For 2020
On July 5, 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposed rule to set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in 2020, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume standard for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program. The notice means that EPA is on target to publish the final RFS Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) on time. In Wheeler’s announcement, he highlights that its timeliness contrasts with the Obama Administration’s failure to release RVOs by the date Congress set forth. Despite Wheeler’s timeliness, however, ... read more >
July 12, 2019
U.S. Senator John Kennedy Submits Letter To USDA Secretary On SRE
On June 27, 2019, U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) submitted a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue asking him to stop threatening energy jobs in Louisiana. In his letter to Secretary Purdue, Senator Kennedy outlines concerns related to Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) issued by EPA under the RFS program. Of particular concern to Senator Kennedy are reports that Secretary Purdue continues to attempt to influence EPA decisions on small refinery waivers, despite clear measures in the Clean Air Act that prohibit him to do so. Senator Kennedy states that Secretary Purdue’s “efforts in ... read more >
July 12, 2019
U.S. Senators Express Concerns About RFS Program To President Trump
On June 28, 2019, 13 U.S. Senators signed a letter to President Donald J. Trump expressing concerns about media reports that USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue is attempting to influence EPA decisions on small refinery waivers under RFS. Similar to the letter submitted to Purdue himself by Senator Kennedy, the 13 Senators express opposition to Secretary Purdue’s involvement in the SRE waivers decision-making process. Also referencing the Clean Air Act and its statutory requirements, the letter urges President Trump to prohibit Secretary Purdue from influencing or interfering with decisions ... read more >
June 28, 2019
Cabinet To Review RFS Small Refinery Waiver Programs
On June 20, 2019, Reuters reported that President Trump directed members of his Cabinet to review EPA’s expanded use of waivers exempting small refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This decision came after Trump traveled to the Midwest to promote the Administration’s decision to lift a ban on summer sales of E15 and farmers warned that increases in smaller refinery exemptions functionally negated the expected benefits of E15 sales. RFS has become increasingly controversial as environmental activists argue that the government should phase out incentives for first ... read more >
June 21, 2019
U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Act Aiming To Increase Small Refinery Exemptions Transparency
On June 14, 2019, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Integrity Act of 2019. This Act aims at increasing transparency and predictability to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) small refinery exemption process under the RFS program. Requiring small refineries to petition for exemptions by June 1 of each year, according to the two leaders, this legislation would hold EPA accountable for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) it sets every November. It is known that, since 2018, many ... read more >
June 14, 2019
GAO Publishes Report On RFS’ Impact On Gasoline Prices And GHG Emissions
On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to the U.S. Senate on the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) program effects on gas prices and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Titled Renewable Fuel Standard: Information on Likely Program Effects on Gasoline Prices and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the report suggests that increases in gas prices outside of the Midwest (which have now diminished) were associated with the nationwide RFS, and that variations in gas prices likely depended on state-by-state transport and storage of ethanol costs. In addition, price ... read more >
May 31, 2019
Senator Wyden Introduces Bill To Amend CAA Definition Of Renewable Biomass
On May 22, 2019, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill (S. 1614) to amend the Clean Air Act (CAA) to modify the definition of “renewable biomass” under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The CAA currently prohibits the use of biomass from federal lands in the making of renewable fuels as defined by the RFS.  The bill would allow the use of biomass from certain federal lands needing ecological restoration in the making of renewable fuels.  The bill also is intended to make it financially feasible for private landowners to remove low-value brush that impacts ... read more >
May 10, 2019
U.S. Senators Submit Letter To Wheeler On RFS Reset Requirements
On April 30, 2019, 15 U.S. Senators signed and submitted a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, urging him to protect U.S. consumers and account for the ethanol blend wall when setting annual target volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) requirements. According to the letter, a decrease in consumer demand for gasoline has occurred since the RFS Program was passed into law. Instead of the original 170 billion gallons projected, now, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects a gasoline demand for 2020 to be closer to ... read more >
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