U.S. EPA Opens RFSII for Possible Volume Revisions

On September 26th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a pre-publication version of a Notice of Data Availability (NODA), requesting comment on options for reductions in the 2018 biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volumes in the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFSII).

Congress created the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. The main mechanism through which this is accomplished is by creating volume production requirements of various biofuels.

Among possible changes, EPA is requesting comment on a further reduction of the 2018 advanced biofuel volume requirement from the proposed level of 4.24bn gal/year to 3.77bn gal/year and the 2018 total renewable fuel volume requirement from the proposed level of 19.24bn gal/year to 18.77bn gal/year, driven by concerns over biofuel imports.

“This all gives me a strong suspicion that Big Oil and refineries are prevailing, despite assurances to the contrary,” said US Senator Chuck Grassley (Republican-Iowa) in a press statement. “This seems like a bait-and-switch from the EPA’s prior proposal and from assurances from the president himself and cabinet secretaries in my office prior to confirmation for their strong support of renewable fuels.”

In July, the EPA announced Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for 2018 as well as biomass-based diesel for 2019 at levels that did not please biofuels supporters.

“EPA’s proposal earlier this summer was inadequate, underestimating the power of domestic biodiesel production and ignoring the intent of the law," said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). "This request for comment is even more disappointing. NBB will be working with EPA to demonstrate the industry’s proven success record, continued growth and impacts to American workers who were promised that this administration had their back.”

“This proposed volume on advanced biofuel would be a big step backwards for Ohio’s biodiesel industry and entire supply chain,” said Sam Spofforth, Executive Director of Clean Fuels Ohio. “It would be economically harmful to our state.”

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