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EPA meets statutory deadline with 2019 biofuel requirements proposal

On June 26, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in the calendar year 2019, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume standard for the calendar year 2020.  

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – a bipartisan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush – requires increasing volumes of renewable transportation fuels in the US fuel stream. The Clean Air Act requires US Environmental Protection Agency (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.

I’ve travelled to numerous states and heard firsthand about the importance of the RFS to farmers and local communities across the country. Issuing the proposed rule on time meets Congress’s statutory deadlines, which the previous administration failed to do, and provides regulatory certainty to all impacted stakeholders, said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

EPA implements the RFS program in consultation with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) and, according to EPA, it is using the “tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets based on current market realities.”

  • “Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, would be maintained at the implied 15-billion gallon target set by Congress for 2019
  • The advanced biofuel standard for 2019 would be increased by almost 600 million gallons over the 2018 standard
  • The cellulosic biofuel standard for 2019 would be increased by almost 100 million gallons over the 2018 standard
  • The biomass-based diesel standard for 2020 would be increased by 330 million gallons as compared to the standard for 2019

The EPA is also taking comment on a host of ways to improve market transparency, including by limiting who can participate in the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market and the length of time a RIN can be held.

Proposed and Final Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements for 2018-2020

*The biomass-based diesel standard for 2019 was set at 2.1 billion gallons in 2018 and cannot be changed (table EPA).

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