US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) programme that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2020, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume standard for calendar year 2021.
This puts EPA on target to publish the final RFS Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) on time for the third consecutive year. This is in contrast to the previous administration, which frequently failed to release their RVOs by the date intended by Congress.
“Unlike the previous administration, we have consistently issued the annual renewable volume obligations rule on time, which is critically important to America’s farmers and all stakeholders impacted by the Renewable Fuel Standard programme,” said Wheeler.
“We are on track to meet the deadline on time for the third year in a row and continue to provide greater regulatory certainty to farmers and refiners across the country.”
Some key elements of the action: (i) ‘Conventional’ renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, would be maintained at the implied 15bn gallon target set by Congress. (ii) EPA is proposing an advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2020 of 5.04bn gallons, which is 0.12bn gallons higher than the advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2019. (iii) The cellulosic biofuel volume requirement of 0.54bn ethanol-equivalent gallons for 2020 is based on the production projection, which is 0.12bn ethanol-equivalent gallons higher than the cellulosic biofuel volume finalised for 2019. (iv) US EPA is proposing to maintain the biomass-based diesel (BBD) volume for 2021 at 2.43bn gallons.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volumes of biofuels that must be used for transportation fuel for four categories of biofuels: total, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass-based diesel. EPA is using the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets based on current market realities. EPA implements the RFS programme in consultation with the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy.
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