Biobased and Renewable Products News: RFS

April 13, 2018
Open Letter From Iowan Biofuel Producers Urges Protection Of RFS
On April 6, 2018, a coalition of biofuel producers wrote to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) urging them to reach out to President Trump to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. EPA, under the direction of Administrator Scott Pruitt, recently provided a large oil refining company, Andeavor, with a hardship waiver. These waivers are typically given to small refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels per day that would suffer a “disproportionate economic hardship” from the costs of RFS compliance. Since Andeavor’s exemption was ... read more >
April 6, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Princeton University, “Researchers Use Light to Turn Yeast into Biochemical Factories” Biodiesel, “NBB Again Disappointed by Failure to Renew Biodiesel Tax Credit” Biodiesel Magazine, “DOJ Must Maintain Integrity of RFS, Reject PES Settlement” Reuters, “U.S. Asks Brazil to Review Ethanol Quotas in Tariff Talks - Industry Group” Berkeley Lab, “Sewage Sludge Leads to Biofuels ... read more >
March 16, 2018
RFS Reform Bills Introduced In Congress
On March 8, 2018, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced companion legislation (S. 2519, H.R. 5212) in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible (GREENER) Fuels Act aims to: Phase out the corn ethanol mandate and immediately reduce the amount of ethanol in fuel by as much as one billion gallons by capping the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 9.7 percent; Help farmers ... read more >
January 5, 2018
EPA Proposes New Fuel Pathways Under RFS Program
On December 27, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to approve new fuel pathways under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  Specifically, EPA is proposing to amend RFS regulations to define the term “distillers sorghum oil” and to add approved pathways from the production of biodiesel and heating oil from distillers sorghum oil via a transesterification process, and renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced from distillers sorghum oil via a hydrotreating process.  Distillers sorghum oil ... read more >
December 22, 2017
EPA Publishes Final 2018 RFS Requirements
On December 12, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program:  Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019 final rule.  This final rule sets the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2018, as well as biomass-based diesel for 2019.  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post EPA Issues Final 2018 RFS Requirements, the ... read more >
December 15, 2017
EPA Seeks Comment On ICR On RFS Program
On December 8, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register regarding its plans to submit an information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on recordkeeping and reporting for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  The notices states that the ICR aims to streamline and update estimates related to the RFS program and consolidate all RFS estimates into one, consistent, and easy-to-understand format.   EPA is seeking public comment and information to enable it to:  Evaluate whether the ... read more >
December 15, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “Barrasso Calls on EPA to Study the Renewable Fuel Standard’s Impact on the Environment” Reuters, “Trump Plans to Meet Oil Industry Reps on U.S. Biofuel Policy: Sources” Genome Canada, “Genomics Researchers Partner with Industry to Further Innovation in Health, Agriculture and Environment Sectors” Chemical & Engineering News, “Tapping Sewage as a Source of Useful ... read more >
December 8, 2017
EPA Issues Final 2018 RFS Requirements
On November 30, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final 2018 volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel.  A pre-publication of the final rule is available now.  The final rule sets the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2018, as well as biomass-based diesel for 2019.  The proposed volume requirements ... read more >
December 1, 2017
EPA Denies Industry Request To Shift Point Of Obligation
On November 30, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register announcing its decision to deny several petitions requesting that EPA initiate a rulemaking to change the point of obligation for compliance under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  Under the RFS program, refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel fuel are identified as “obligated parties” responsible for compliance with the RFS annual standards.  In 2016, EPA received several petitions requesting a revision of the definition of “obligated ... read more >
November 17, 2017
EPA Close To Issuing In Final 2018 And 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes
On October 31, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its final rule to set the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for 2018 and 2019 to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.  Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA must issue a final rule to set standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel by November 30, 2017.  Typically, OMB review is the last step before the final rule is published in the Federal Register and takes 30 days. Timely issuance of the final volume requirements is critical for ... read more >
November 3, 2017
EPA Sends Letter To Senators Addressing RFS Issues
On October 19, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) to confirm his commitment to support the spirit and the letter of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  In the letter, Pruitt stated that, following a detailed analysis, numerous stakeholder meetings, and review of public comments, it was determined that EPA would not grant the petition to move the point of obligation to ... read more >
October 6, 2017
Iowa Senators Respond To EPA NODA Regarding RFS Program
Last week, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Notice of Data Availability (NODA) regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements (see EPA Issues NODA Regarding RFS Program).  On September 27, 2017, Ernst sent a letter to President Trump expressing concern over the proposed reduction in the volume requirements for 2018 and 2019.  In the letter, Ernst highlights the importance of renewable fuel with regard to jobs in rural America, and energy security for the U.S. Additionally, the ... read more >
October 6, 2017
EPA Issues NODA Regarding RFS Program
On October 4, 2017, EPA issued a NODA in the Federal Register to provide supplemental information and an opportunity for further public comment on potential reductions in the 2018 biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes, and/or the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume under the RFS program.  The NODA follows the Agency’s July 21, 2017, proposed rulemaking on the volume requirements and provides additional information on production, imports, and cost of renewable fuel, and several options for how EPA may consider such data in establishing the final ... read more >
October 6, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Senator Rounds, “Rounds Asks EPA Administrator for Continued Support of Renewable Fuel Standard” DOE Joint Genome Institute, “2018 DOE JGI Community Science Program Allocations Announced” Brookhaven National Laboratory, “With Extra Sugar, Leaves Get Fat Too -- Scientists Tip Balance of Plant Metabolism to Increase Oil Content in Leaves with Aim of Making Biofuels and Related Useful Chemicals” Cornell Chronicle, “Bioreactors on a Chip Renew Promises for Algal ... read more >
September 22, 2017
Pruitt Responds To Senators’ Request For Details On Icahn’s Advisory Role
On September 11, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in response to the request by Senator Whitehouse and four other Democratic Senators to explain Carl Icahn’s role in shaping the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  According to Pruitt, Icahn did not exercise excessive influence on the U.S. biofuels policy while acting as an advisor of President Trump.  The letter states that Icahn was one of many advisors that Trump met with during his confirmation and no assurances were made ... read more >
September 8, 2017
EPA Waives RFS Requirements For States Affected By Hurricane Harvey
On August 31, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that requirements for reformulated gasoline and low volatility gasoline would be waived through September 15, 2017, for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia.  EPA exercised its emergency fuel waiver authority to help ensure an adequate supply of fuel throughout the South, Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  As required by law, EPA and the Department of ... read more >
August 25, 2017
Appellate Court Rules EPA RFS Exemption Criteria Too Strict
On August 15, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled two to one that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its statutory authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) when it denied Sinclair Oil Corporation’s request for a hardship exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  The statute requires that EPA grant exemptions on a case-by-case basis to small refiners that would suffer a “disproportionate economic hardship” in complying with the RFS program.  According to the court ruling, EPA’s interpretation that ... read more >
August 25, 2017
New Iowa State Study Shows Benefits Of RFS Program
In a paper forthcoming in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Iowa State researchers demonstrate that their tractable multi-market equilibrium model designed to evaluate alternative biofuel policies confirms that the current RFS program benefits the agriculture sector, and leads to overall welfare gains for the U.S.  The model considers biodiesel and ethanol markets and is simulated to analyze alternative scenarios, including the repeal of all RFS mandates, the 2015 level of mandates, and the projected 2022 RFS mandates.  The analysis shows that the U.S. benefited from ... read more >
August 18, 2017
Biofuel Industry Testifies At EPA Hearing On RFS Program
On August 1, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing to hear from all segments of the fuel industry on the proposed rule to set the 2018 renewable volume obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  Among the nearly 150 individuals and organizations scheduled to testify at the hearing were numerous biofuel industry stakeholders who praised EPA for issuing the proposed rule on time and for maintaining the statutory 15 billion gallon volume requirement for conventional renewable fuels, but urged the agency to increase the proposed ... read more >
July 28, 2017
EPA Publishes Proposed 2018 RFS Requirements
On July 18, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register its proposed rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program:  Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019.  The rulemaking proposes the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2018, as well as biomass-based diesel in 2019, as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG®) blog post EPA Releases Proposed 2018 RFS ... read more >
July 21, 2017
EPA Announces Public Hearing On RFS Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard [RFS] Program: Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019 proposed rule.  The hearing will take place at 9:00 a.m. on August 1, 2017, and will provide an opportunity for EPA to gather data, views, and arguments on the proposed rulemaking from interested stakeholders.  While EPA does not plan to respond to presentations, the Agency may ask clarifying questions.  EPA intends to use the information to inform a future rulemaking to reset the statutory volumes ... read more >
July 21, 2017
EIA Issues Short-Term Energy Outlook Report
On July 11, 2017, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued its June Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).  EIA considered EPA’s recent rulemakings on the 2017 RFS volume requirements and proposed 2018 RFS volume requirements when developing its STEO for 2017 and 2018.    Biodiesel production averaged 101,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2016, and, according to EIA, is expected to increase to an average of 105,000 b/d in 2017 and to 109,000 b/d in 2018.  Biomass-based diesel imports are expected to fall from 54,000 b/d in 2016 to 53,000 b/d in 2017 but rise to ... read more >
July 14, 2017
EPA Releases Proposed 2018 RFS Volume Requirements
On July 5, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued proposed volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2018, as well as biomass-based diesel for 2019.  The proposal lowers the blending requirement for all renewable fuel with the exception of biomass-based diesel, which maintains the 2017 blending requirement.  The proposed volume requirements are: Cellulosic biofuel, from 311 million gallons in 2017 to 238 million gallons in 2018; Advanced biofuel, from 4.28 billion ... read more >
May 5, 2017
Judges Hear Oral Arguments On The Petition To Review RVO For 2014-2016
On April 24, 2017, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys representing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the renewable fuels and petroleum industries presented oral arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit regarding the petition to review the renewable volume obligations (RVO) for 2014-2016.  The petition, which was filed on January 8, 2016, by seven biofuel and agricultural groups, challenged EPA’s authority to set volume requirements for biofuel blending below standards put forth in the 2007 Renewable Fuel ... read more >
March 31, 2017
Senators Send Trump Letter On RFS Point Of Obligation
On March 16, 2017, 23 Senators, including Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), sent President Trump a bipartisan letter requesting that he maintain the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  In the letter, the Senators remind Trump that the RFS program was adopted to provide stability for renewable fuel producers and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that, to meet this goal, the point of obligation should be placed on refiners and importers.  Shifting the point of obligation downstream would ... read more >
March 31, 2017
EPA Implements 2017 RFS Volume Requirements
On March 21, 2017, the renewable fuel volume requirements for 2017, which were issued in final by EPA on December 12, 2016, were implemented.  The effective date for the 2017 requirements was delayed following the Presidential directive to postpone the implementation of new regulations to allow for review by the new administration.  Although EPA has yet to publish an announcement on the matter, industry stakeholders have welcomed the 2017 biofuel volumes and 2018 biomass-based diesel volumes.  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog ... read more >
March 24, 2017
National Farmers Union Passes Resolution On Higher Blended Fuels
On March 13, 2017, the South Dakota Farmers Union announced that the National Farmers Union had passed a resolution calling for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to open the market to higher blends of ethanol during its annual meeting in San Diego.  The resolution, which was brought forward by the South Dakota Farmers Union delegation, promotes the use of higher blended fuels, such as E30, as a way to expand the retail fuels infrastructure and support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   In addition to passing the resolution, the National Farmers Union filed legal ... read more >
March 17, 2017
Bipartisan Bill Introduced To Reform RFS Program
On March 2, 2017, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) reintroduced the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act, which aims to guide the debate and reform of the ethanol mandate.  According to Goodlatte, the RFS program failed to lower prices at the pump and resulted in unintended and profound effects on consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, retailers, and the environment.  The RFS Reform Act, which had 42 bipartisan cosponsors, would eliminate corn-based ethanol requirements, place a ten percent cap on the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline, ... read more >
March 3, 2017
Trump Supports Renewable Fuels In Letter To Industry
On February 21, 2017, President Trump sent a letter to the attendees of the National Ethanol Conference to reiterate his commitment to ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The letter states that Trump and his Administration value the importance of renewable fuels to the nation’s energy strategy and economy.  In the letter, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to working with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and others to reform regulations that impede growth, increase consumer costs, and eliminate jobs without providing sufficient environmental or public health ... read more >
March 3, 2017
Sierra Club Files Notice Of Intent To Sue EPA Over Failure To Analyze RFS Program
On February 23, 2017, the Sierra Club filed a notice of intent to sue EPA for failure to conduct the required environmental impact analysis on the RFS program.  The notice states that EPA failed to assess and report to Congress on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the RFS program and failed to complete the required anti-backsliding study to determine whether the renewable fuel volumes adversely impacted air quality.  According to the notice, EPA has issued only one triennial report on the environmental impact of the program despite the requirement under the ... read more >
March 3, 2017
API Supports EPA Denial Of RFS Petitions
On February 22, 2017, the American Petroleum Institute (API) announced plans to submit comments to EPA in support of its proposal to deny petitions requesting EPA initiate a rulemaking process to change the point of obligation for compliance under the RFS program.  During the press call, Frank Macchiarola, the Group Director of Downstream and Industry Operations at API, stated that changing the point of obligation would create significant uncertainty and complications in the RFS program and the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market, and add time and an administrative burden for ... read more >
February 24, 2017
Senators Send Letter To White House Counsel Regarding Carl Icahn Concerns
On February 13, 2017, seven democratic Senators sent a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn requesting details on Carl Icahn’s role in the Trump Administration and the extent of his influence over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  On December 21, 2016, it was announced that Mr. Icahn would serve the Trump Administration as a special advisor for overhauling federal regulations.  The Senators’ letter highlights concerns over Icahn’s public statements regarding RFS obligations and his role as chairman of the board and majority shareholder of Icahn ... read more >
February 24, 2017
Iowa Biofuel Industry Urges EPA To Reject RFS Point Of Obligation Petition
On February 16, 2017, a coalition of Iowa farmers, renewable fuel producers, and retailers urged Scott Pruitt, just prior to his being confirmed as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by rejecting the petition to change the program’s point of obligation.  The coalition, which includes the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI), and the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB), stated that it is committed to opposing a change ... read more >
February 10, 2017
Two Congressional Bills Aimed At Reforming The RFS
On January 31, 2017, two bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress that propose to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the national biofuels mandate.  The first bill would require the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to assess the performance, safety, and environmental impact of mid-level ethanol, and the implications of the use of mid-level ethanol blends compared to gasoline blends containing ten percent or less ethanol.  The second bill would reduce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cellulosic biofuel volume requirements under the RFS program to ... read more >
February 2, 2017
EPA Seeks Comments On GHG Analysis Of Sugar Beets For Biofuel Feedstock
On January 18, 2017, Christopher Grundler, the Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), signed a notice inviting comment on its analysis of the upstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production of sugar beets for use as biofuel feedstock.  The notice describes the analysis performed, which considers the extraction of non-cellulosic beet sugar for conversion to biofuel and the use of the remaining beet pulp for animal feed, and how EPA may use the analysis to determine whether biofuels from sugar beets qualify ... read more >
February 2, 2017
Ontario Seeks Input On RFS Discussion Paper
On January 11, 2017, the Government of Ontario released a discussion paper titled “Developing a Modern Renewable Fuel Standard For Gasoline in Ontario,” which provides context for the new RFS requirements.  The discussion paper explains that Ontario aims to keep the following considerations in mind when designing the RFS policy: ■   Ensure a level playing field for fuels, regardless of technology or origin;   ■   Set ambitious but achievable goals;     ■   Support near and long-term ... read more >
January 27, 2017
EPA Delays Effective Date of 2017 RFS Requirements
On January 26, 2017, EPA published a final rule delaying the effective date of 30 EPA regulations, including the RFS Program:  Standards for 2017 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018 final rule.  The rulemaking follows the Presidential directive to postpone for sixty days the effective dates of all regulations that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect to give the President’s appointees or designees the opportunity for further review and consideration of new or pending regulations.  The new effective date is March 21, 2017.  ... read more >
January 13, 2017
Third Party Auditor May Lose Ability to Verify RINs
On January 4, 2017, EPA issued a notice of intent to revoke Genscape’s ability to verify Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) as a third party auditor under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Quality Assurance Program (QAP).  According to the notice, Genscape failed to meet all elements of its Quality Assurance Plan and verified approximately 68 million fraudulently-generated RINs.  To replace invalid RINs, Genscape is required to retire RINs within 60 days.  Obligated parties, however, do not have to replace invalid RINs to meet their compliance obligations if they ... read more >
January 6, 2017
EPA Extends Comment Period On REGS Rule And RFS Point Of Obligation Petitions
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published two announcements in the Federal Register regarding an extension of the comment period for the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) rule and the proposed denial of petitions for the rulemaking to change the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Point of Obligation.   On December 9, 2016, ten biodiesel and agricultural industry stakeholders, including the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, American Soybean Association, and the Corn Refiners Association, sent EPA a joint request for additional time ... read more >
December 23, 2016
Fuels America Sends Letter To Trump On The RFS Program
On December 15, 2016,  Fuels America sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the nation's renewable fuels sector encouraging Trump’s continued commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program.  Fuels America stated that the RFS Program has promoted the growth of the American biofuels industry and has helped to correct the imbalance that exists in the global oil market by ensuring competition among fuel producers, in addition to stimulating economic growth in rural communities.  The letter urged Trump to remain an advocate for the RFS Program ... read more >
December 16, 2016
EPA Publishes Final 2017 RFS Requirements
On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule, Renewable Fuel Standard Program:  Standards for 2017 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018, in the Federal Register.  This final rule sets the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2017, as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG®) blog post EPA Signs Final RFS Requirements.  The proposed volume ... read more >
December 9, 2016
GAO Testifies On The Feasibility Of The RFS Program
On December 1, 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs regarding the feasibility of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program .  GAO stated that the goals of the program, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector, were unlikely to be met as envisioned due to the limited production of advanced biofuels.  Despite the ability of advanced biofuels to achieve greater ... read more >
December 2, 2016
EPA Announces Opportunity To Comment On Changing The RFS Point Of Obligation
On November 22, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register of an opportunity to comment on petitions requesting EPA initiate a rulemaking process to reconsider its regulations that impose the obligation for compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) annual standards on gasoline and diesel fuel refiners and importers, as well as on EPA’s proposed denial of the petitions. As the notice states, EPA is looking for petitioners to demonstrate the change in the point of obligation would improve the effectiveness of the RFS program, thus ... read more >
December 2, 2016
EPA Signs Final RFS Requirements
On November 23, 2016, EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, signed the final rule on the RFS volume standards for 2017 and biobased diesel standards for 2018. This final rule will increase the renewable fuel volume requirements as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) post “EPA Releases Proposed Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements.”  The proposed volume requirements are:   ■   Cellulosic biofuel, from 230 million gallons in 2016 to 311 million gallons in 2017;     ■   Advanced ... read more >
November 18, 2016
EPA Approves Redfield Energy’s Efficient Producer Petition
On October 27, 2016, EPA approved an Efficient Producer petition submitted by Redfield Energy, LLC (Redfield Energy) granting “a pathway for the generation of renewable fuel (D-code 6) Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for the production of non-grandfathered ethanol” produced by dry milling.  The Efficient Producer petition process is designed to accelerate the registration process for starch and grain sorghum ethanol producers that exhibit superior process efficiency.  Redfield Energy claimed the process achieved a ... read more >
November 4, 2016
EPA Delivers Proposed Renewable Fuel Standard Requirements To OMB
On October 19, 2016, EPA delivered the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume standards for 2017 and biobased diesel standards for 2018 via proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  This proposed rule will increase the renewable fuel volume requirements as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) post “EPA Releases Proposed Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements.”  The proposed volume requirements are:   ■   Cellulosic biofuel, from 230 million gallons in 2016, to 312 million ... read more >
August 26, 2016
EPA Inspector General Reports EPA Has Not Followed Through On Studying Effects Of RFS
On August 18, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report stating that EPA has not complied with federal requirements to study the effects of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The report, "EPA Has Not Met Certain Statutory Requirements to Identify Environmental Impacts of Renewable Fuel Standard," found that while EPA is required to provide a report to Congress every three years on the impact of biofuels, there has not been a report since 2011. It was also determined that EPA's Office of Air and Radiation has ... read more >
May 27, 2016
Public Hearing Announced For Proposed Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes
On May 25, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a public hearing for the proposed rule "Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2017 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018." A pre-publication version of the proposed rule is available now, with the proposed rule being published separately in the Federal Register under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0004. The proposed volumes include slight increases in all categories from the 2016 volumes, but still fall short of the volumes proposed for 2017 under Section 211 of the Clean Air Act. The public hearing ... read more >
May 20, 2016
EPA Releases Proposed Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements
On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed increase of the renewable fuel volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for all biofuels in 2017 and biomass-based diesel in 2018. While both the renewable fuel volume requirements and the proposed percentage standards are increases from previous years, the volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, advance biofuel, and renewable fuel still fall short of the volumes proposed for 2017 under Section 211 of the Clean Air Act. The proposed volume requirements are: Cellulosic ... read more >
April 29, 2016
EPA Close To Publicizing 2017 And 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes
On April 15, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its newly proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for 2017 and 2018 to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA must set standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel by November 30 of the year before the standard is set for, and 14 months before the year that the biodiesel standard is set for. EPA's issuance of the RFS volumes to OMB is typically the final step before the rule is publicized. OMB's ... read more >
April 29, 2016
EPA Publishes Final Rule To Correct And Clarify Issues With The RFS Program
On April 22, 2016, EPA published Amendments Related to: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards as a final rule in the Federal Register. This final action amends the RFS Quality Assurance Program (QAP) rule to exempt downstream end users of renewable fuels from product transfer document (PTD) requirements. EPA originally added the PTD requirements to the QAP rule, requiring parties taking ownership of renewable fuel to use the fuel for transportation -- parties would incur a renewable volume obligation if they exported the fuel. This rule was not intended to apply to downstream end ... read more >
January 15, 2016
Biofuel, Corn, And Sorghum Farmers Challenge Lowered RFS Volumes
On January 8, 2016, seven biofuel and agriculture groups requested the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) for 2014, 2015, and 2016. The Petition was filed by Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Americans for Clean Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association. The groups intend to challenge the authority of EPA to set volume requirements for biofuel blending below standards put forth in the 2007 RFS law. The new RFS volumes were ... read more >
January 15, 2016
American Petroleum Institute On The Future Of American Energy And The RFS
On January 5, 2016, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released its annual State of American Energy 2016 report while emphasizing a need to either amend or repeal EPA’s RFS and a need to promote energy infrastructure development.  Jack Gerard, API President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), spoke at API’s Sixth Annual State of American Energy event stating the RFS is a “relic of our nation's era of energy dependency that poses a direct threat to our nation's economy, risks reversal of important environmental improvements and could raise energy costs for ... read more >
November 13, 2015
White House OMB Reviews Final Changes To Standards For Renewable Fuels
On October 30, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a draft final rule for review to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that would reduce the amount of biofuels that must be blended into the fuel supply in 2014, 2015, and 2016 from statutory requirements, as reported by Bloomberg BNA's Daily Environment Report on November 3, 2015. Details of the proposal are not public. EPA is working toward a November 30, 2015, deadline established in a settlement with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers ... read more >
October 22, 2015
Ethanol Mandates under RFS and EPA’s Lifecycle GHG Analysis
In a settlement with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to set renewable fuel obligations for calendar years 2014 and 2015 by November 30, 2015, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The RFS requires annual increases in the amount of renewable fuel that must be blended into the total volume of gasoline refined and consumed in the U.S.  A current TV ad featured on the Smarter Fuel Future Coalition’s website and sponsored by The American Council for ... read more >
September 25, 2015
Biofuel CEOs Send Letter To President Obama Over EPA RFS Proposal
On September 16, 2015, 23 biofuel executives sent a letter to President Obama regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirement proposal. The revised RFS allows companies to challenge the distribution requirement of renewable fuel, potentially resulting in RFS requirements being waived on a year-to-year basis. The letter outlines the concern that the proposed RFS disincentivizes oil companies to blend renewable fuels into gasoline, resulting in fewer investors for the renewable biofuel companies. Companies, including Poet-DSM, ... read more >
September 18, 2015
Gina McCarthy Speaks About The Future Of The RFS
On September 15, 2015, the head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, spoke at the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference about the need of the upcoming RFS rule to encourage long-term investment in advanced biofuels to successfully grow capacity. McCarthy went on to say that the November 30, 2015, deadline is a priority for her to have the RFS rule finished to improve investment conditions for biofuels. She considers the RFS to be one of the best tools that the Administration has in the long-term fight against climate change. EPA is currently looking at approximately 650,000 comments from the proposed rule ... read more >
June 12, 2015
EPA Announces Public Hearing For 2014, 2015, And 2016 RFS
On June 4, 2015, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register for a Public Hearing on the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. As part of the hearing, EPA will consider amendments to the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels that are added to fuel produced in the U.S. or imported for 2014, 2015, and 2016, and will consider amendments to the proposed biodiesel volume for 2017. The hearing will be held on June 25, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., at the Jack Reardon Center, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas ... read more >
May 22, 2015
ACORE Releases White Paper Questioning EPA RFS
On May 18, 2015, the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) issued a white paper arguing that "Co-location Requirements under the RFS Impede Advanced Biofuels Development." The paper was sent to EPA. It requests that EPA clarify its definition of feedstock material under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) so that biofuels producers that pre-process their feedstocks away from final refineries are no longer prohibited from generating renewable identification numbers (RIN) under the RFS, and therefore contributing to the volumetric goals of the statute. Senior staff from ... read more >
May 15, 2015
Progress Toward Renewable Fuel Standard Blending Mandates
The White House is reviewing EPA's proposed rules to set the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements. The proposals are not currently publicly available, but EPA has committed to propose them by June 1, 2015, and to promulgate the 2014 and 2015 rules by November 30, 2015. EPA is required by law to issue the following year's RFS requirements by November 30 of the previous year. The interagency review of the RFS rule is occurring amid complaints that delays in issuing the annual standard have negatively impacted the biofuels industry. As reported in last ... read more >
May 8, 2015
BIO Assesses Impact Of EPA Delays On RFS Investment
On May 4, 2015, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) released a new white paper on "Estimating Chilled Investment for Advanced Biofuels Due to RFS Uncertainty," along with an accompanying press release. BIO examined the impact of EPA's recent inability in administering the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on investment in advanced and cellulosic biofuels. It has found that EPA's delay in issuing the final 2013 and 2014 RFS rules, among other delays in RFS administration, is responsible for most of the "$13.7 billion shortfall in necessary investments for ... read more >
May 1, 2015
Group Of 37 Senators Call For EPA To Issue A Strong Final 2014 RFS
On April 23, 2015, a bi-partisan group of 37 Senators led by Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Thune (R-SD), Al Franken (D-MN), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging a strong final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The full list of 37 co-signors and text of the letter is available on Senator Grassley's website. The Senators urge EPA to reconsider its proposed 2014 renewable volume obligations (RVO), and argue that the proposed reductions to the overall RVOs were made ... read more >
May 1, 2015
EPA Requests Comment On Analysis Of Carinata Oil Feedstock
On April 24, 2015, EPA released a Federal Register notice inviting comment on analysis of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced during the production and transport of Brassica carinata (carinata) oil feedstock for use in the production of biofuels. The plant is not used for food in the U.S., and has high concentrations of erucic acid, making it attractive for use in biolubricants and biopolymers, as well as biofuels. EPA anticipates that biofuels produced using carinata oil will qualify as advanced biofuels, and the analysis will be used to determine if the biofuels will meet necessary ... read more >
April 23, 2015
DOE Releases First Installment Of Its Quadrennial Energy Review
On April 21, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the initial installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). This first installment focuses on ways to modernize the U.S. energy infrastructure to increase the country's energy competitiveness and security. In its QER, DOE points out that while U.S. biofuel production has increased significantly over the past decade -- due largely to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) --"[c]ontinued growth in ethanol use will depend in part on investment in additional distribution capacity; growth in the use of other biofuels, ... read more >
April 23, 2015
Senators Introduce Bill To Modify Cellulosic Standard
On April 14, 2015, U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 934, the Phantom Fuel Reform Act. The legislation would require EPA to base its annual cellulosic biofuel volume requirements on actual production. Certain biofuels groups have already made strong public statements in opposition to S. 934, arguing in part that the RFS is meant to be a proactive, not reactive, policy to encourage increased investment, development, and use of U.S. biofuels, including cellulosic biofuels. As such, EPA must continue to set its annual cellulosic requirements prospectively and ... read more >
April 23, 2015
EPA Seeks Comment On Proposed RFS Deadlines
As referenced in last week's Biobased and Renewable Products Update, EPA published a Proposed Consent Decree along with a request for comment in response to the Clean Air Act (CAA) lawsuit filed by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). The decree will establish deadlines for EPA to propose and issue in final the 2015 RFS. Comments are being accepted until May 20, ... read more >
April 10, 2015
Fuel Choice And Deregulation Act Of 2015 Introduced In The U.S. Senate
On March 26, 2015, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced S. 899, the Fuel Choice and Deregulation Act of 2015, a bill to provide regulatory relief to alternative fuel producers and consumers. The bill would require EPA to provide a volatility waiver to E15, allowing the higher ethanol blend to be sold year round. Fuels have volatility limits in the summer to prevent excess evaporation that results in smog. Some areas cannot obtain the lower-volatility gas that would be able to be mixed with the ethanol and sold. Because of this situation, E15 cannot be sold in the ... read more >
April 3, 2015
NBB Petitions EPA For Reconsideration And Stay Of CARBIO Approval
On March 30, 2015, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) submitted a petition to EPA seeking reconsideration and a request for stay of EPA's approval of the Argentinian Camara Argentina de Biocombustibles (CARBIO) Alternative Biomass Tracking Program. According to the NBB press release, EPA failed to provide an opportunity for public comment on the EPA decision and a lack of transparency as to how the Argentinian biodiesel producers will demonstrate compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). NBB notes that EPA's delay in establishing RFS volumes has destabilized the U.S. biodiesel ... read more >
April 3, 2015
Ethanol And Agricultural Groups Send USDA A Letter In Favor Of Ethanol Funding
On March 26, 2015, a group of ethanol and agricultural groups sent a letter (the industry letter) to the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies to express their strong opposition to including certain language harmful to the ethanol industry in the Fiscal Year 2016 Agriculture, Rural Development, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Related Programs Appropriations bill. According to the industry letter, the language would prohibit the use of U.S. Department of Agriculture ... read more >
March 27, 2015
Legislation Introduced In Senate To Phase Out RFS
On March 18, 2015, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced S. 791, "The American Energy Renaissance Act of 2015." Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) introduced companion legislation, H.R. 1487. The legislation would phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), approve the Keystone XL pipeline, open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration, and stop EPA from regulating GHG emissions. Under the bill, the RFS would start to be phased out in 2016 with a 20 percent reduction in the volumetric requirements proposed by EPA. The 20 percent reductions would continue each year ... read more >
March 13, 2015
GOP Presidential Hopefuls Discuss RFS At 2015 Iowa Ag Summit
On March 7, 2015, the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit brought together several Republican Presidential hopefuls to discuss agricultural issues, including the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), in the United States. The potential candidates present at the summit included former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former Governor George Pataki (R-NY), former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), and former Governor Rick Perry (R-TX). Walker, Bush, and Graham all stated that they supported the RFS, with ... read more >
March 6, 2015
RFS Hearing And Legislation
On February 25, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and the Economy held a joint hearing on "The Fiscal Year 2016 EPA Budget." During the hearing, both supporters and opponents of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) criticized U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy on the Agency's implementation of the program. RFS supporters pointed out that EPA's delay in issuing the 2014 RFS rule in final has compromised the stability of the RFS. RFS opponents argued that the RFS ... read more >
February 26, 2015
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
■ Reuters, "EU Lawmakers Back New Limit for Food-based Biofuel"  ■ Industrial Biotechnology, "Toxicity of Cellulose Nanocrystals: A Review" ■ Ethanol Producer Magazine, "Successes, Challenges Outlined at Annual RFA Ethanol Conference" ■ Reuters, "Update 2 -- U.S. EPA to Propose Biofuels Standards this Spring – Official" ■ Ghent Bio-Economy Valley, "Mars Presents Biobased Wrapper" ■ Trade Only Today, "Miami 2015: BRP Debuts New Biofuel Alternative" ■ The Hill, "Repeal ... read more >
February 12, 2015
Senators Urge EPA To Set And Increase Biodiesel RFS Volumes
On February 9, 2015, a bi-partisan group of 32 Senators led by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding 2014 and future biodiesel volume requirements under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In their letter, the Senators urge EPA to get the biodiesel renewable volume requirements (RVOs) under the RFS back on schedule. To this end, the Senators request that EPA set the 2014 biodiesel RVOs at actual production volumes and ... read more >
February 6, 2015
EPA Approves Argentina’s Biofuels For RFS Program
On January 27, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the importation of biodiesel made from soybeans from Argentinian biofuel producers as qualifying for U.S. biofuel credits under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Argentina's Biofuels Chamber's (CARBIO) request for an "Alternative Renewable Biomass Tracking Requirement" was approved, which allows foreign manufacturers to be part of the RFS if they follow certain environmental standards. The U.S. biodiesel industry has criticized this pathway approval for Argentinian biodiesel because it is believed to be less ... read more >
January 22, 2015
EPA Approves Algenol Fuel As An Advanced Biofuel For The RFS
 On January 13, 2015, Algenol announced that EPA approved fuels for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that are made by Algenol using only algae, carbon dioxide (CO2), saltwater, and the sun.  It was determined that the ethanol produced by Algenol had a 69 percent reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) compared to traditional gasoline, fulfilling the GHG reduction requirements under the RFS and resulting in Algenol’s fuels’ eligibility for Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN).  While the RINs provide value to Algenol’s fuels, the Founder and CEO of Algenol, Paul Woods, ... read more >
January 22, 2015
Proposed Amendment To The Keystone Bill Would Remove Corn Ethanol from RFS
On January 16, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) proposed an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill to eliminate corn ethanol from the RFS called the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.”  Senator Feinstein stated that the “bill is a simple and smart modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Once we remove the corn ethanol mandate, the RFS program can finally serve its intended purpose: to support the development of advanced, environmentally friendly biofuels like biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels.” ... read more >
January 8, 2015
EPA Anticipates That Sorghum Based Biofuels Could Qualify For RFS
EPA announced that renewable fuels produced from sorghum biomass could qualify as cellulosic fuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This is a result of a preliminary analysis of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the growth and transport of biomass sorghum feedstocks that are used to make biofuels. The analysis, which was conducted in response to a petition from the National Sorghum Producers, assumes that the emissions from production of biofuels from biomass sorghum are similar to those from switchgrass. EPA is accepting comments on the analysis until January 30, ... read more >
December 11, 2014
Congress Grills EPA On 2014 RFS Rule Delay
On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements held a hearing on “Examining EPA’s Management of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.” The sole witness was Janet McCabe, Acting Administrator for Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  A copy of Ms. McCabe’s written testimony is available online at http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/McCabe-EPA.pdf.  Subcommittee Members on both sides of the aisle sharply criticized EPA on ... read more >
December 4, 2014
EPA Delays 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard
On November 21, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014 will not be issued by the end of the year.  The compliance deadline for the 2013 RFS will be renewed until the new rule is issued, sometime in 2015.  The 2014 RFS was due to be finalized by November 30, 2013.  When the rule is released in 2015, it will set standards through 2016 with the intention of making up for long delays in the RFS rulemaking.  Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, the Biotechnology Industry ... read more >
October 24, 2014
Advocacy Group Sues EPA Over 2014 RFS Agency Communications
On October 21, 2014, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued EPA. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. CREW alleges that EPA failed to comply with its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents regarding external and intra-agency communications related to the Agency's formation of the 2014 federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). CREW requested the documents as part of its effort to explore the extent to which the 2014 RFS rule is politicized. More information, including links to its complaint, is available in ... read more >
September 26, 2014
Secretary Vilsack Confirms Administration Support For Biofuel Production Level
Last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at a biofuel industry conference and addressed concerns raised over the likelihood that the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule would include renewable volume obligations (RVO) for total renewable fuel at levels below those included for 2014 under the statute. Generally, total renewable RVOs are comprised of corn-starch ethanol. Secretary Vilsack projected a positive spin on this likelihood, reportedly telling the audience that the Obama Administration remains committed to working with the biofuels ... read more >
September 19, 2014
EPA Aims To Propose Renewable Fuel Standard Targets In Mid-2015
Inside EPA reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take at least 12 more months before a proposed ruling for the 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) can be released. This pushes "issuance of a final version toward the end of the 2015 compliance year," while also violating the statutory mandate that EPA has to "issue the annual RFS targets before the compliance year begins." EPA did not meet that schedule in 2014 either, as the RFS is yet to be released and many groups are still trying to convince the Agency and others in Washington, D.C. to ... read more >
September 5, 2014
Analysts’ Views On 2014 RFS
As previously reported, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on August 22, 2014. Some sides speculate that OMB will need considerable time to review the final action, especially given the 340,000+ comments submitted to EPA in response to the proposal. Others, however, suggest that OMB will forego its allotted 90-day review period and issue the rule in late September or early October. Such a schedule would result in the final rule being published before the November elections. Should ... read more >
August 15, 2014
New Research Studies On Invasiveness And Bioenergy Crops
The Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of Illinois recently helped fund two research projects that provide recommendations to prevent invasive species from being planted as new crops and used for bioenergy production. The two studies are: (1) "Resolving Regulatory Uncertainty: Legislative Language for Potentially Invasive Bioenergy Feedstocks"; and (2) "Bioenergy Feedstocks at Low Risk for Invasion in the U.S.: A 'White List' Approach." The first study recognizes that considerations related to potential invasiveness are not now required as part of ... read more >
August 8, 2014
EPA Extends 2013 RFS Compliance Deadline, Again
On July 31, 2014, EPA again extended the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) annual compliance reporting and attest engagement reporting deadlines for obligated parties under the law. The Agency issued a direct final rule extending the deadlines to 30 and 90 days, respectively, after the final 2014 RFS rule is published in the Federal Register. EPA simultaneously issued a rule proposing the new deadlines on which the public may comment. The new deadlines will become effective September 29, 2014, barring any adverse comment. Copies of the pre-published versions of the direct final rule and ... read more >
July 18, 2014
White House Weighs Higher EPA 2014 RFS Targets To Help Climate Efforts
On July 15, 2014, Inside EPA reported that "the White House is examining options for reversing EPA's proposed cuts to several renewable fuel standard (RFS) production targets in order to promote biofuels that create fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than conventional fuels, informed sources say, as part of the Obama administration's broader efforts to combat climate change." The article also quotes sources stating: "[F]igures under discussion between administration officials and industry representatives include raising the renewable fuel target -- largely met with corn ... read more >
July 11, 2014
Renewable Fuels Pathways Final Rule
On July 2, 2014, EPA released a signed, pre-published version of its final rule for "Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Pathways II and Modifications to the RFS Program, Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Requirements, and E15 Misfueling Mitigation Requirements." Under the rule, EPA qualifies certain additional fuel pathways that the Agency has determined meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction requirements for cellulosic biofuel under the RFS. The final rule also provides guidance regarding the feedstocks that EPA considers to be crop residues, including clarification that EPA considers corn ... read more >
July 7, 2014
CBO Issues Report On RFS Compliance Through 2017
On June 26, 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a 38-page report on the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), "The Renewable Fuel Standard: Issues for 2014 and Beyond." The report examines potential compliance with the RFS through 2017 under three scenarios and evaluates the effects on food and fuel prices under each one. A copy of CBO's summary of the report is available online. A copy of the full report is available online. The report evaluated the impact on food and fuel prices under the following three RFS scenarios through 2017: compliance with the RFS ... read more >
June 27, 2014
NBB Challenges Monroe Energy’s Standing To Challenge 2013 RFS
On June 20, 2014, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requesting that the court rehear whether Monroe Energy (Monroe), a refining subsidiary of Delta Airlines, had standing to challenge EPA's final rule setting the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). BRAG reported on the court's recent denial of Monroe's challenge to that final rule. A copy of that report is available online. As BRAG reported, the court held that EPA properly utilized its authority under the federal RFS to set the 2013 RFS ... read more >
June 6, 2014
Environmental Working Group Report On Corn Ethanol
On May 29, 2014, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report entitled "Ethanol's Broken Promise: Using Less Corn Ethanol Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions." A copy of the report is available online. The report concludes that "[t]he Environmental Protection Agency's pending proposal to cut the amount of corn ethanol that must be blended into gasoline in 2014 by 1.39 billion gallons would lower U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 3 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2e) – as much as taking 580,000 cars off the road for a year." ... read more >
May 30, 2014
EPA Plans To Issue Several Actions That Will Impact The Biofuels Industry
On Friday, May 23, 2014, EPA published its semi-annul regulatory agenda (Agenda) indicating the Agency's upcoming priorities and timelines. A copy of the Agenda is available online. According to the Agenda, EPA plans to issue several actions that will impact the biofuels industry, including the following: * 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): EPA anticipates issuing the final rule in June 2014. BRAG has issued a report on the 2014 RFS. A copy of that report is available online. * 2015 RFS: EPA anticipates issuing the proposed rule in September 2014 and the final rule in March ... read more >
May 16, 2014
RFS Advocacy Continues As Final 2014 Rule Expected Soon
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) advocacy is continuing at a steady pace in anticipation of the expected imminent release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2014 final RFS rule. Some biofuels advocates believe that they are making an impact with their stepped-up advocacy, as they believe the Administration will adjust the total renewable and advanced biofuel targets upwards from its proposed reductions to those categories of renewable fuels. The final rule is expected to be issued in June 2014. On May 8, 2014, nine members of the pro-biofuels Fuels America coalition ... read more >
May 9, 2014
Appeals Court Rules For EPA In Challenge To Its 2013 RFS Rule
On May 6, 2014, in what is largely seen as a win for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the biofuels industry, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the challenge to EPA's final 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule by Monroe Energy, LLC (Monroe Energy), a refinery and subsidiary of Delta Airlines. In Monroe Energy, LLC v. EPA, the court held that EPA properly utilized its authority under the federal RFS to set the 2013 RFS volume requirements. The court disagreed with Monroe Energy that EPA did not sufficiently consider factors in ... read more >
May 9, 2014
EPA Publishes Proposed And Direct Final Rules Reconsidering The 2013 RFS Cellulosic Requirement
On May 2, 2013, EPA published a proposed rule and a direct final rule that would amend its 2013 cellulosic requirement published on August 15, 2013. The rules are available here and here. Through these actions, EPA is proposing a revised and reduced cellulosic standard for 2013 of 810,185 gallons. As EPA explains, the direct final rule will be "effective on July 1, 2014 without further notice, unless EPA receives relevant adverse comment by June 2, 2014. If EPA receives relevant adverse comment, [it] will publish a timely withdrawal of this direct final rule in the Federal ... read more >
May 2, 2014
OMB Reviewing RFS Pathways Rule As Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Activity Remains High
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reportedly received the final rule on "RFS Pathways II and Technical Amendments to the RFS2 Standards" (RFS Pathways II rule) from EPA. This is the last step in the process before EPA publishes the final rule. EPA's summary of its proposed RFS Pathways II rule is available online. A copy of the 38-page proposed rule, which was published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2013, is also available online. The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) reported on and summarized the proposed RFS ... read more >
April 25, 2014
EPA Issues Direct Final Rule Reducing 2013 Cellulosic Fuel Blending Requirement
On April 22, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed off on a Direct Final Rule requiring petroleum refiners and importers to blend 810,185 gallons of cellulosic fuels into the fuel supply in 2013 in response to petitions for reconsideration of the Final Rule from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). The pre-publication version of the Direct Final Rule is available online. Petitioners successfully argued that cellulosic fuel production was well below EPA's projections. Previously, EPA had mandated that ... read more >
April 25, 2014
Renewable Fuel Producers Oppose EPA Motion In 2013 RFS Case
Oral argument was heard on April 7, 2014, on a joint motion filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by EPA, API, and AFPM to sever certain issues and hold them in abeyance pending administrative reconsideration. Monroe Energy LLC et al. v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 13-1265. According to the Respondent-Intervenors Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Growth Energy, and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) in their April 16, 2014, response opposing EPA's motion, severing the case serves no purpose. EPA requested that the API and AFPM petitions be pulled out of the case and ... read more >
April 18, 2014
API And AFPM Have Asked For A Hold On Challenge To 2013 RFS
On April 11, 2014, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to place a hold on their challenge to EPA's 2013 RFS final rule until EPA completes its reconsideration of the rule. EPA joined in the motion. Just days earlier, on Monday, April 7, 2014, the parties to the litigation challenging EPA's 2013 final RFS rule, including API, AFPM, and EPA, were in court arguing the merits of the case. The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group's ... read more >
April 11, 2014
Court Hears Challenges To EPA’s 2013 RFS Rule
On April 7, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in Monroe Energy, LLC v. EPA (No. 13-1265). In the case, Monroe Energy, a subsidiary of Delta Airlines, the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) are challenging EPA's final 2013 RFS rule. The plaintiffs' arguments include that the rule should be overturned because EPA improperly considered the availability of carryover Renewable Identification Numbers and illegally issued the rule in final nine months after the statutory ... read more >
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