RFS on the radar

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Sunday, December 5, 2021

The long-awaited biofuel blending targets are slated to come out in the coming days, Pro’s Kelsey Tamborrino reports, possibly dropping early next week or even today. The proposed blending volumes have long been the center of attention across the agriculture and refinery sectors, with both competing for the Biden administration’s ear on whether to raise or lower the standards.

A document leaked in September hinted that the agency planned to reduce blending mandates for 2020 and 2021 below the previously finalized 2020 level. If that holds true, prepare for a bitter fight from ethanol groups and farm-state lawmakers, just as the Senate is wrapped in a smorgasbord of legislative must-dos by year’s end.

Ethanol backers have leaned on the president’s own campaign trail comments as a promise that he’d support the industry, but the administration also needs to keep an eye toward refineries, particularly in the Northeast, that have argued the current RFS has been too costly to keep up with and harms unionized labor.

Keep in mind, EPA is already over a year late in setting 2021 blending volumes and missed this week’s deadline for 2022. The agency will hold a virtual public hearing today on a proposal to extend compliance deadlines for refiners and tie future deadlines to the promulgation of the subsequent year’s standards.