EPA ‘reset’ recommendation addresses RFS, LCFS

Posted: Sunday, August 16, 2020

A group of six former U.S. EPA administrators representing both republican and democratic administrations are calling for a “reset” of the agency as it approaches its 50th anniversary. The Renewable Fuel Standard and a potential federal Low Carbon Fuel Standard among the issues discussed in a report released on the effort.

The former EPA administrators, including Lee Thomas, William Reilly, Carol Browner, Christine Todd Whitman, Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy, are backing a plan published by the Environmental Protection Network, a bipartisan group launched in 2017 that includes hundreds of former EPA staff.

The report, titled “Resetting the Course of the EPA,” outlines specific and actionable steps that the group said EPA can take to reset the course of the agency to address the most significant and pervasive threats to public health and the environment.

The group names six priorities it says are critical to creating a renewed EPA. Those priorities include:

•EPA must reaffirm its commitment to fully protect public health and the environment.

•EPA must conduct its scientific and economic analysis free from political interference.

•EPA must incorporate environmental justice in every aspect of its work in order to address and resolve inequitable environmental conditions.

•EPA must focus on the most significant and pervasive public health and environmental risks, prioritizing actions that provide the greatest health benefit for the greatest number of people, including vulnerable populations.

•EPA must innovate and collaborate with states, tribes, local governments, and federal agencies as coregulators, as well as with stakeholders, including the private and non-profit sectors and community groups, to build an effective and resilient system of public health and environmental protections.

• EPA must earn and maintain broad public trust by demonstrating the best ethical behavior, transparently considering all stakeholder viewpoints, and providing objective environmental information.

One of the many recommendations released by the group focuses specifically on reducing air emissions from mobile sources. Under that recommendation, the Environmental Protection Network calls on the EPA to closely examine the RFS program and consider potential changes to increase greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from renewable fuels. In addition, the group recommends the EPA evaluate the adoption of a federal LCFS under the Clean Air Act, including close examination of potential interactions with other federal and state programs. The recommendation notes that a federal LCFS could preempt state LCFS programs, and EPA should consider the pros and cons of additional state LCFSs. The recommendation also specifies that under the CAA, a federal LCFS would be in addition to—and not a substitute for—the RFS. The group also said the EPA should consider what cost-effective reductions could be achieved under a LCFS incremental to the RFS.

Additional information is available on the Environmental Protection Network website.