NATSO Meets With OMB to Discuss Renewable Fuel Standard

NATSO met with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget Nov. 15 to discuss the forthcoming final rule outlining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations for 2017.

At the meeting, NATSO made the following points:
1) NATSO supports EPA’s exercise of its statutory waiver authority to avoid the blend wall and tie RVOs to market realities.

2) EPA faces a delicate balance with respect to biomass-based diesel: On the one hand, increasing mandates under the RFS can enable NATSO members to sell biodiesel and renewable diesel to consumers at lower prices and thereby increase consumer demand for these products; at the same time, if obligations are set too high, prices for diesel fuel could potentially rise, which would have an adverse effect on NATSO members and the U.S. economy as a whole.

3) EPA was correct when it recently proposed to reject the idea of revising the definition of “obligated party” under the RFS. Refiners and importers are obligated parties because that is the only way to ensure that renewable fuels are integrated into the nation’s fuel supply. If fuel blenders and retailers rather than refiners and importers were obligated parties, the RFS’s objectives would not be achieved.

Under the RFS, EPA annually establishes renewable volume obligations ("RVOs") that refiners and importers are responsible for generating each year.  The RFS program specifies four separate categories of renewable fuels, each with a separate volume mandate: (i) total renewable fuel (generally corn ethanol); (ii) advanced biofuel (including Brazilian sugar cane ethanol); (iii) biomass-based diesel (including biodiesel and renewable diesel); and (iv) cellulosic biofuel.

EPA is expected to release its 2017 RVOs in the coming days, no later than Nov. 30. This rulemaking will include the 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel; the 2017 biomass-based diesel RVO was established last year.

David Fialkov's photo

David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov directs NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
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