EPA Sends 2019 Biofuel Mandates to White House

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent its final renewable volume obligations for 2019 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. This marks the final step before EPA's proposed 2019 renewable fuel mandates are finalized. NATSO will meet with OMB to discuss the proposal in the coming days. 

EPA is required to finalize the 2019 RVOs by Nov. 30.

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, EPA sets an annual benchmark representing the amount of renewable fuels that each fuel refiner and importer (obligated party) is responsible for ensuring is introduced into the fuel supply. The RFS specifies four separate categories of renewable fuels, each with separate volume mandates.

The proposed rule, which was released earlier this year, called for refiners to blend19.88 billion total gallons of biofuel. Of that amount, 15 billion gallons would be conventional biofuel, and 4.88 billion gallons would be advanced biofuels.

The proposed rule also increased the 2020 requirement for biodiesel, adding 330 million more gallons than the 2018 and 2019 levels of 2.1 billion gallons.

NATSO in August submitted formal comments to EPA outlining the off-highway fuel retailer community's concerns with how the RFS has been implemented in recent months, while providing the agency several ideas for how the RFS can be improved.

The crux of NATSO's comments dealt with the EPA's recent policy of liberally granting small refinery hardship exemptions, which is undercutting demand for advanced biofuels. When these waivers are issued retroactively, as they have been over the past year, they function as de facto mandate cuts in the RVOs, dramatically lowering RIN prices and, in turn, lowering demand for advanced biofuels. NATSO wrote that this outcome is inconsistent with Congress's goals for the Program.

NATSO suggested several ways that EPA can improve the RFS's implementation, including clearly acknowledging and articulating the standard by which it examines small refineries' requests for hardship waivers. NATSO urged EPA to disseminate this information to all market participants equitably and transparently.

NATSO suggested that EPA incorporate the new, more liberal standard for granting hardship waivers into other aspects of the RVO policymaking process.

A copy of NATSO’s comments can be found here.

via Business Feeds

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