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American Biogas Council denounces EPA’s latest RFS rule

On October 15, 2019, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that the American Biogas Council (ABC) says "contradicted a promise" to reallocate waived gallons from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and instead released a new proposal to adjust how it sets refinery targets, representing a significant setback to the renewable fuels industry.

Patrick Serfass (left), Executive Director, American Biogas Council (ABC).

“The Trump Administration simply cannot be trusted to properly administer the Renewable Fuel Standard. The actions taken so far are killing project development, the creation of jobs and private investment, and, most importantly, directly attacking the livelihood of American farmers. This nonsense must stop and it must stop now,” said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council (ABC) here seen at a panel discussion at the 2018 UK AD & World Biogas Expo in Birmingham, UK.

The reallocation of waived gallons would have provided a needed, although delayed, correction back to established market values for the credits that biogas and other renewable fuel producers can sell under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The Trump Administration’s issuance of exemptions to oil refineries is more than any previous administration by a factor of 5-10 and has significantly depressed the value of RFS credits, known as Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). ABC points out that these 85 exemptions to date have allowed oil refineries to avoid blending over 4 billion (US) gallons (≈ 15.14 billion litres) of renewable fuel such as biogas, renewable natural gas (RNG), ethanol and biodiesel into fuels sold for domestic consumption.

This huge reduction in market demand for renewable fuel causes greater damage to renewable fuel producers, including many farms, which continue to labour under the artificial trade constraints placed upon it by the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration simply cannot be trusted to properly administer the Renewable Fuel Standard. The actions taken so far are killing project development, the creation of jobs and private investment, and, most importantly, directly attacking the livelihood of American farmers. This nonsense must stop and it must stop now. The Administration and EPA need to end the issuance of small refinery exemptions, reallocate waived gallons back into the RFS, activate the dormant renewable electricity pathway that was created 11 years ago, and allow biogas projects to split their D3 and D5 RINs using the ‘simplified BMP methodology, said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council.

Biogas qualifies as a cellulosic fuel and can be utilized to make compressed and liquefied renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG from biogas comprises over 90 percent of the cellulosic category of the RFS. The ability for biogas projects to participate in the RFS brings significant value to those systems and, in turn, the biogas systems create enormous societal benefits by recycling organic material into renewable energy and soil amendments while protecting air, water, and soil.

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