Lawmakers ask Regan to prioritize RFS rulemakings

Source: By Erin Voegele , Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A group of 29 members of Congress on July 30 sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to prioritize rulemaking to set Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2021 and 2022, along with the biomass-based diesel RVOs for 2022 and 2023.

“Advanced biofuels supported through the [RFS] are critical to the success of rural America and the many hard-working Americans that depend on a robust biofuels industry,” the lawmakers wrote. “Further, low-carbon advanced biofuels are important to states and cities that are pursuing carbon reduction goals for clean, low-carbon transportation and home heating programs. The RFS ensures that all Americans can access cleaner fuels and benefit from the economic opportunities the advanced biofuel industry provides.”

The letter notes biomass-based diesel reduces carbon emissions by an average of 74 percent when compared to petroleum diesel. The fuel also reduces emissions of criteria pollutants. “As Administrator, you set priorities for EPA that benefit the environment and reduce carbon; optimizing the RFS and avoiding cuts to the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2022 and 2023 will help achieve those goals,” the lawmakers wrote.

“In order to support the growth of the industry, it is critical that the agency demonstrate commitment to the RFS through prioritizing the issuance of the RFS rule as soon as possible,” they continued. “It is also critical that your Agency properly account for any potential small refinery ‘hardship’ exemptions, prevent any nationwide waiver of the RFS, and avoid rollbacks of any annual volume obligations. Additionally, addressing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s remand of the 2016 RFS rule will be another important step.”

The National Biodiesel Board has spoken out in support of the letter. “On behalf of NBB’s members, I want to thank Representatives Rodney Davis, Angie Craig, Dusty Johnson, Cindy Axne, Mark Pocan, Adrian Smith and others for their support of the biodiesel industry and the RFS,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs at NBB. “The letter specifically notes that biodiesel and renewable diesel reduce carbon emissions and criteria pollutants. Optimizing the RFS and increasing use of these advanced biofuels will help EPA further the goals and priorities set by Administrator Regan. It is critical that EPA issue the overdue RFS rules as soon as possible.”

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