EPA Sends RFS Volumes Proposal to OMB

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2021

EPA Says Volumes Proposal Designed to Get RFS ‘Back on Track’

EPA sent proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes to the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday, launching an interagency review. (DTN file photo)
EPA sent proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes to the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday, launching an interagency review. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — The EPA sent a proposed Renewable Fuel Standard rule to the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday, as the official launch of interagency review. The EPA is faced with setting volumes for 2020, 2021 and 2022, as the program has fallen behind.

“Today, EPA sent to OMB for interagency review a rulemaking proposal to set renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard program,” the agency said in a statement to DTN.

“The proposal aims to get the RFS program back on track while addressing challenges stemming from decisions made under the prior administration. EPA will continue to engage with all RFS stakeholders to gather input on the proposal when it is released so that the final rule can achieve the program’s objectives while responding to the multiple dynamics affecting the program.”

Refiners have been pressing the Biden administration to not require them to purchase biofuels credits known as Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, to comply with the RFS.

Last week Reuters and the Oil Pricing Information Service first reported EPA would not issue specific ethanol blending requirements for 2021. The move comes after the Trump administration last year passed on proposing blend volumes for 2021 and the Biden administration chose to do the same.

EPA is required under the law to set blend volumes for cellulosic, biodiesel and advanced biofuels, as well as total blend volumes. In 2020, total biofuel blend volumes topped 20.09 billion gallons.

The move effectively sets status quo ethanol blend volumes under the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2020 and 2021 without any increase in refiner obligations to increase blends or go out on the regulatory market and buy more RINs for 2021.

EPA under the Obama administration had problems meeting deadlines for proposing annual RVO blend requirements. Under an agreement reached following a lawsuit, EPA had agreed to propose annual RVO rules in June or July, then finalize those requirements sometime in November — the deadline under the law. EPA last year opted not to propose a rule for 2021.

EPA’s handling of the 2021 blend requirements raised more questions about 2022 because EPA has not issued any guidance or proposed rules for next year either.

Read more on DTN:

“EPA to Propose Lower RFS Blend Volumes” at https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

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