EPA Takes Action to Reset and Strengthen the RFS Program

Source: By U.S. EPA • Posted: Sunday, June 5, 2022

WASHINGTON — Today, EPA announced several actions that will help provide a path for the sustained growth of renewable fuels and reinforce the foundation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Together, these actions reflect the Biden Administration’s commitment to reset and strengthen the RFS, bolster our nation’s energy security, and support homegrown biofuel alternatives to oil for transportation fuel.

“At EPA, we are laser-focused on providing more options for consumers at the pump, and today we are taking steps to increase the availability of homegrown biofuels,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today’s actions will help to reduce our reliance on oil and put the RFS program back on track after years of challenges and mismanagement. We remain committed to working with all RFS stakeholders to build on today’s actions and deliver certainty and stability in the RFS program.”

EPA is taking action today pursuant to a consent decree agreement that requires EPA to finalize RFS volumes for 2021 and 2022 no later than June 3, 2022. Together with other steps announced today, EPA’s actions will help reduce our dependence on oil and diversify our fuel supply by increasing production of domestically produced biofuels. In the final volumes, EPA adjusted the final biofuel volumes for 2021 to reflect updated data on actual 2021 ethanol use that has become available since the proposal was issued. A summary of the final volume requirements for 2020-2022 is provided below:

Final Volume Requirements for 2020-2022 (billion gallons)

Category 2020 2021 2022
Cellulosic Biofuel 0.51 0.56 0.63
Biomass-Based Diesel 2.43 2.43 2.76
Advanced Biofuel 4.63 5.05 5.63
Total Renewable Fuel 17.13 18.84 20.63
Supplemental Standard n/a n/a 0.25

*All values are ethanol-equivalent on an energy consult basis, except for BBD which is biodiesel-equivalent

In addition to finalizing the volume requirements, the rule also finalizes a regulatory framework to allow “biointermediates” to be included in the RFS program, while ensuring environmental and programmatic safeguards are in place. Biointermediates are feedstocks that have been partially converted at one facility but are then processed into an RFS-qualified biofuel at a separate facility. Providing a way for producers to utilize biointermediates may reduce biofuel production costs and expand opportunities for more cost-effective biomass-based diesel, advanced, and cellulosic biofuels. This new regulatory framework will allow new facilities looking to make advanced, innovative biofuels to qualify under the RFS program, expanding access to the program for biofuel producers and increasing compliance flexibility.

Separately, and recognizing the growing importance of renewable diesel as a biofuel, earlier this year EPA proposed a rule that would find that renewable diesel and other biofuels made from canola oil would qualify as advanced biofuel under the RFS. The agency is on track to finalize this rule by the end of this year. This step to approve additional pathways for generating renewable identification numbers (RINs) under the RFS program will enable additional biofuel supplies to enter fuel markets.

Small Refinery Exemption Actions

Separately, EPA is announcing a suite of small refinery exemption (SRE) actions. These include a final decision to deny a set of previously pending SRE petitions spanning the 2016–2021 compliance years, a proposed rulemaking to provide an alternative schedule for small refineries to comply with their 2020 RFS obligations, and a revision to an earlier action that provides an alternate compliance approach for certain small refineries for the 2016, 2017, and/or 2018 compliance years.

USDA Actions

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $700 million to help lower costs and support nearly 300 biofuel producers in 25 states who faced unexpected market losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are being made available through the Biofuel Producer Program, which was created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Each agency’s actions align with President Biden’s commitment to promoting and advancing biofuels to help rural America and our nation’s farmers, and to honor the leadership role American agriculture plays in our fight against climate change.

For more information on the final volume requirements, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/final-volume-standards-2020-2021-and-2022

|