Biobased and Renewable Products News: RFS

May 30, 2013
Study Presses EPA On Delayed New Pathway Approval
James McCubbins and A. Bryan Endres of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, just released a new article entitled "EPA Biofuel Pathways and Petitions: Failure to Launch?." It echoes concerns recently raised by members of the biofuels industry that EPA's ongoing delay in approving new fuel pathway petitions under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program is inhibiting the ability of biofuels producers to produce new types of renewable fuel that would qualify under the RFS, including advanced and cellulosic fuels. The authors found, among other things, that ... read more >
May 30, 2013
Stakeholders Submit Conflicting Comments To House Energy And Commerce Committee On RF
As we recently reported, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) issued the Committee's third in a series of white papers for public comment as part of their efforts to examine potential changes that they believe should be made to the federal RFS. This third white paper (available online) examined "Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Other Environmental Impacts." Refining groups, including the American Petroleum Institute (API), generally oppose the RFS and are working for the policy's repeal. In its comments to the ... read more >
May 24, 2013
New Fuel Pathways
EPA announced this week that it has signed off on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend administratively the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, by among other things adding additional eligible pathways, which include eligible feedstocks. Unless prescribed in the final rule implementing the RFS, renewable fuel producers need to request that EPA approve their pathways, which include their feedstocks and technology, so that their fuel may qualify for renewable identification numbers (RIN) under the program. EPA has been criticized for taking too long to approve new ... read more >
May 24, 2013
Foreign Fuels Reduction Act
Last week, Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced S. 977, the Foreign Fuels Reduction Act. The purpose of the bill is to help prevent sugarcane ethanol imported from Brazil from being used to fulfill the annual advanced renewable volume obligations (RVO). Under the RFS, EPA may lower the cellulosic RVOs each year, while maintaining the overall advanced RVOs. To date, EPA has chosen this way to implement the RFS so lowered cellulosic volumes could be made up by advanced fuels. Imported sugarcane ethanol has largely made up the difference. S.977 would require EPA to ... read more >
May 17, 2013
House Energy And Commerce Committee Releases Third RFS Paper For Comment
Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued its third in a series of white papers for public comment on aspects of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The white papers are designed to solicit comment from interested stakeholders on various aspects of the RFS in preparation for Committee hearings on the policy and potential revisions to it later this year. The latest paper solicits comment on "greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts associated with the RFS." Comments are due via e-mail to by May 24, 2013. The ... read more >
May 17, 2013
New Legislation To Open The RFS To Natural Gas
On May 14, 2013, Representative Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1959, a bill to amend the federal RFS to allow natural gas to qualify under the program. In public statements upon the bill's introduction, Representative Olson reiterated his ultimate goal to see the entire RFS ... read more >
May 17, 2013
EPA Begins Work On 2014 RFS Volumes
As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues work to prepare in final the 2013 renewable volume obligations (RVO) under the RFS, the Agency is also beginning its work to set the 2014 RVOs. Under the RFS, EPA has an obligation to issue in final the following year's RVOs by November 30 of the preceding year. EPA did not meet that requirement for the 2013 RVOs, due in part to legal challenges to its final rules setting the 2011 cellulosic RVO and 2012 ... read more >
May 17, 2013
Biofuels Group Urges Approval Of New Fuel Pathways
On May 9, 2013, the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget urging approval of new fuel pathways to help cellulosic and advanced biofuels companies utilize new feedstocks for the development and commercialization of those types of fuels. In its letter, AEC pointed out that delays in pathway approval hinder financing necessary for this development. In particular, the group requested quick approval of giant reed, woody biomass, and ... read more >
May 2, 2013
Refiners Continue Push To Repeal The RFS
Earlier this week, Charles Drevna, AFPM President, stated in an interview that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) should be repealed. Last fall, the American Petroleum Institute announced that it had changed its position on the RFS from reform to repeal. As we have reported, these groups have taken action toward this end. Recently, they have met with EPA and White House staff about the blend wall and have suggested in news reports that they do not expect the Administration to modify the RFS to address blend wall ... read more >
April 25, 2013
U.S. House Energy And Commerce Committee Releases Second RFS White Paper And Comment Request
On April 18, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued the second in an expected series of white papers issued by the Committee to "[set] out a number of emerging issues with the RFS." The topic of the first white paper was the blend wall. This second white paper addresses the impacts of the RFS on the agriculture sector, and largely stems out of the "food versus fuel" debate. The paper asks several questions on which the Committee seeks comment by April 29, 2013. One question asks the impact of the RFS on corn prices. In response to the drought last year, ... read more >
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