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Congress members urge EPA to process outstanding RFS applications including electricity

Last week in the United States (US), a letter signed by 21 members of Congress, led by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), was sent to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the EPA to “expeditiously review and approve worthy pending applications to produce RFS-certified fuels, permitting them to proceed to market.”

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A recent letter signed by 21 members of Congress, led by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), was sent to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the EPA to “expeditiously review and approve worthy pending applications to produce RFS-certified fuels, permitting them to proceed to market.

The RFS Power Coalition is a group of organizations dedicated to activating the renewable electricity pathway of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Coalition is led by the Biomass Power Association (BPA) and American Biogas Council (ABC), the trade associations that represent, respectively, domestic biomass power producers who use organic fuels like forest residues, and biogas-to-electricity producers like dairy farmers and wastewater treatment facilities.

All feedstocks used by these technologies – biomass, biogas, and biogenic waste – qualify as renewable transportation fuels that should be included in the D3 cellulosic and D5 advanced fuel categories of the RFS.

We are extremely grateful to the 21 signers of this letter to the EPA articulating the EPA’s violation of implementing Congress’ intentions by not including electricity in the RFS. As of today, it’s been 11 years and 174 days since RFS2 was signed into law, which included electricity. As the letter points out, the EPA’s refusal to process electricity applications has an impact far beyond our individual power producers; entire supply chains including farms, forests, loggers and local governments are suffering due to the EPA’s failure to act, said Bob Cleaves, President and CEO of Biomass Power Association (BPA) , one of three founding organizations of the RFS Power Coalition.

The letter specifically highlighted the contributions of electricity from biomass, biogas and other qualifying forms of renewable energy to rural economies, and the need to include these and other pathways in the RFS “to allow approved pathways the market access that Congress intended them to have.”

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to all 21 signers of this letter, who represent farmers, foresters, local governments and other stakeholders in the creation of electricity from biogas, biomass and other qualifying forms of renewable energy. We hope this is the wakeup call that EPA needs to include electricity in the RFS, ideally in advance of its release of the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO), said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of ABC.

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