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US EPA issues supplemental proposal for Renewable Fuels Volumes

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

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In the United States (US), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The notice, issued on October 15, 2019, does not change the proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2020 and 2021 announced in July 2019. Instead, it fulfills the agreement reached on October 4, 2019, with the White House, EPA, and USDA and proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated.

President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security. Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers, said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions (SREs)based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions.

The agency intends to grant “partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances” when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions.

The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way it calculates renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries.

Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need. EPA will hold a public hearing on October 30, 2019, followed by a 30-day comment period from the date of the hearing to receive public input on these issues. The agency will finalize this action later this year.

President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation’s farmers and rural America. The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue policy that promotes economic growth and supports our producers. Building on the success of the year-round E15 rule, this forward-looking agreement makes improvements to the RFS program that will better harness the production of our farmers and ensure America remains energy dominant, said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

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