The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Nov. 1 submitted its proposed rule for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations -- and 2019 obligations for biomass-based diesel -- to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review. This marks 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 annual benchmark representing the amount of renewable fuels that each fuel refiner and importer 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 kept ethanol volumes at 15 billion gallons, the maximum set by law, and biodiesel volumes for 2019 at 2.1 billion gallons.
RFS renewable fuel volumes for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel are required to be finalized by Nov. 30 of the year prior to the year in which the standards would apply. RVOs for biomass-based diesel must be set at least 14 months before the year in which the requirements would apply.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in mid-October reassured seven Midwestern Senators, including Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer, that EPA would finalize biofuel volumes on time by Nov. 30 at levels equal to or greater than those in the proposed rule.
Administrator Pruitt's letter followed strong pushback from the Senators and industry groups, including NATSO, to EPA's mid-September announcement that it was considering lowering the renewable fuel mandates. NATSO filed detailed comments in response to this announcement, which are available here.
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