Seeds of new biofuel plan?

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Geoff Cooper, head of the Renewable Fuels Association, said Tuesday that the trade group heard from EPA that it’s aiming to propose a rule for the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard by late spring or early summer. Under legislation from 2007, Congress set statutory target volumes until 2022, leaving it up to EPA to determine the blending levels after that. Both the oil and biofuels industries are closely watching how the agency envisions the future of the program.

Cooper told POLITICO’s Kelsey Tamborrino and other reporters at the annual biofuels conference in New Orleans that he expects the so-called “set rule” proposal will include not only volumes for 2023, but also could potentially levels for 2024 and 2025 in a bid to increase certainty and predictability around the program. “If you can do a couple years or three years at a time, that’s good for [EPA] and it’s good for the affected parties of the program,” Cooper said.

Separately, Sarah Dunham, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told the ethanol industry conference in New Orleans on Tuesday that EPA will “look both backward and forward” as it considers how to set the volumes.

Kelsey also asked Cooper about the delayed Build Back Better package after the House-passed bill included a refundable tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel. The Biden administration has sought to advance SAF and Cooper called the tax credit “tremendously important” to help free up necessary investments. But the stalled bill presents “a big barrier and it really handicaps our industry’s efforts to really jumpstart that industry and really move into SAF,” he said.

BIOFUEL DEAL: EPA would be required to finalize the 2021 and 2022 biofuel blending obligations by no later than June 3, 2022 under a proposed consent decree the agency put up for 30-day public comment on today. The proposal follows a complaint in federal district court filed earlier this month by Growth Energy, a biofuel trade association, that alleged EPA’s failure to finalize the volumes by the statutory deadline had impaired members’ abilities to “meaningfully plan” their production and potentially adjust their operations.