RFS Power Coalition applauds re-introduction of Shaheen/Thune Bill
In the United States (US), the RFS Power Coalition, a group of organizations dedicated to activating the renewable electricity pathway of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), has announced its support for legislation introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and John Thune (R-SD) that would require the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on stalled RFS pathway petitions and applications submitted by biogas, biomass, and waste-to-energy power producers.
Dozens of new pathway petitions and registration requests have sat idle at EPA since 2016, while renewable electricity producers have been completely shut out from RFS participation since the inception of the current version of the program in 2007.
The RFS Power Coalition is jointly led by the Biomass Power Association (BPA), American Biogas Council (ABC), and Energy Recovery Council (ERC), that represent, respectively, domestic biomass power producers who use organic fuels like forest residues, biogas-to-electricity producers like dairy farmers, and wastewater treatment facilities, and waste-to-energy producers.
All three fuels – 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. For Senators Shaheen and Thune, this bill demonstrates their support for acknowledging the vital role biofuels play in providing renewable power for electric transportation.
We greatly appreciate the support of Senator Thune and Senator Shaheen in getting the EPA to process RFS applications and pathway petitions. For more than a decade, the biomass power industry has been waiting to participate in the RFS. Our members deserve credit for supplying carbon beneficial power for electric transportation, and the consistent support of these Senators will be instrumental in making this happen, said Carrie Annand, Biomass Power Association Executive Director.
According to RFS Power Coalition, this bill is a step toward ensuring that small and mid-sized power producers rightfully receive credits for the clean power they currently supply for transportation. Senator Shaheen and Senator Thune introduced a version of this bill in the previous Congress.
I’m proud to reintroduce this bill along with Senator Thune to tackle the backlog of advanced biofuel registrations, empowering producers to utilize the latest technology and research in fuel production. I have long worked to level the playing field for our biomass producers to participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard, and I’ll continue to fight for investments that strengthen our energy industry to build a more sustainable future, said Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
In a statement, Senator Thune added that “this bill will permit biofuel producers to capitalize on the research and facility investments they have made to bring this technology to scale, improve their operating margins, and further lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. This will strengthen the biofuel industry, which continues to provide an essential market for South Dakota farmers.”
Proposes automatic approval default
The bill would require the EPA to make decisions within 90 days regarding registration applications that have been pending for more than 180 days as of February 4, 2021. Applications would be automatically approved if no decision is made within that 90-day window.
It would also require EPA to approve registrations for certain biofuels that qualify for at least one state low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program, despite not yet being approved by the EPA.
The ABC deeply values the continued support of Senators Shaheen and Thune in requiring the EPA to address these outstanding biogas to electricity issues. The RFS2 was passed by Congress and implemented in 2010. Since then, producers who are marking biogas to electricity have been discriminated against by the EPA. Many of these projects are on small family farms and could greatly benefit from the additional support that participation in the RFS would bring. We urge the EPA to move forward on these pathways which will enable carbon-negative fuels to power clean electric vehicles, said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council.