The comment period on the U.S. EPA’s proposed rule to set 2017 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), along with 2018 RVOs for biomass-based diesel, has officially closed. According to information posted to the Regulations.gov website, nearly 42,500 public comments were filed on the proposal. The agency has proposed to set the 2017 RVO for cellulosic biofuel at 312 million gallons, with the advanced biofuel RVO at 4 billion gallons and the RVO for total renewable fuel at 18.8 billion gallons. The 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel has been proposed at 2.1 billion gallons. During a recent House hearing, Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator at the U.S. EPA, said the agency expects to issue a final rule by the November 2016 statutory deadline.
A wide variety of biofuel trade groups, stakeholders and supports filed comments with the EPA, with many advocating for the agency to increase the RVOs to statutory levels and arguing against the EPA’s interpretation of its waiver authority. Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, noted the comments filed by her organization outline the case for why EPA must continue to move the RFS, and ultimately the development of biofuels forward. “It is vital that EPA meet the statutory biofuel targets for America’s fuel mix and keep their promises to consumers, investors and the nation,” she said. “The RFS always envisioned higher blends in the marketplace, such as E15, and currently ethanol producers, retailers and the current auto fleet are fully capable of providing consumers with a fair and open fuel marketplace and a true choice at the pump.”
Within its comments, Growth Energy called the EPA’s use of the general waiver authority to contort the definition of “supply” to mean supply and demand legally invalid. The organization’s comments also noted the EPA has significantly understated the volumes of E85 and E15 that could be consumed.
Source: Ethanol Producer Magazine