The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 15 submitted its proposed rule for the 2017 Renewable Ruel Standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), marking the final step before the proposal is published in the Federal Register and open for public comment.
Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, EPA sets an an annual benchmark representing the amount of renewable fuels that each fuel refiner and importer (obligated party) is responsible for generating. The RFS specifies four separate categories of renewable fuels, each with separate volume mandates.
The proposed rule that has been sent to OMB contains 2017 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for renewable fuel, advanced biofuel and cellulosic biofuel. It also contains the proposed 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel, which encompasses biodiesel and renewable diesel. The 2017 standard for biomass-based diesel was finalized in a previous RFS rulemaking.
OMB’s typical review period is 90 days, which means the 2017 proposed levels could be out by July. EPA is required to finalize the 2017 RVOs by Nov. 30.
NATSO plans to meet with OMB to discuss the proposed rule. Specifically, NATSO will discuss the important role its members play in marketing biomass-based diesel to consumers -- which enables the EPA to increase volume madates for the advanced biofuel and renewable fuel categories. Additionally, NATSO will discuss the importance of maintaining the point of obligation under the RFS with refiners and importers, rather than making blenders obligated parties as some refining interests have advocated.
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