A final aphorism appear by the U.S. EPA on Dec. 19 includes a slight accession in the 2020 Renewable Ammunition Accepted cellulosic biofuel and avant-garde biofuel targets, but no added changes to proposed renewable aggregate obligations (RVOs). The aphorism additionally maintains EPA’s abundant criticized proposed plan to annual for approaching baby refinery exemptions (SREs)—a move airtight by associates of the biofuels industry.
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The rulemaking sets the 2020 RVO at 20.09 billion gallons, up from 19.92 billion gallons in 2019. This includes 590 actor gallons of cellulosic biofuel, up from a proposed 540 actor gallons; 2.43 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, which was accomplished in a 2019 RFS rulemaking; and 5.09 billion gallons of avant-garde biofuel, up from a proposed 5.04 billion gallons. The adumbrated 2020 RVO for accepted biofuel, which is primarily met with blah ethanol, is 15 billion gallons.
The rulemaking additionally maintains the proposed 2021 RVO for biomass-based agent at 2.43 billion gallons, collapsed with the 2021 RVO.
On allotment basis, the aphorism calls for renewable ammunition to comprise 11.56 percent of U.S. busline ammunition in 2020, up from a proposed 10.92 percent. The final standards board 0.34 percent for cellulosic biofuel, 2.1 percent for biomass-based diesel, and 2.93 percent for avant-garde biofuel.
The final aphorism additionally finalizes the EPA’s proposed plan to reallocate volumes absent to SREs. Despite abundant criticism by the biofuel industry and Midwestern lawmakers, the bureau accomplished its plan to annual for SREs application a three-year rolling boilerplate of U.S. Department of Activity recommendations, rather than absolute SREs as initially promised by Admiral Trump. The EPA has abundantly abandoned DOE’s SRE recommendations in contempo years. In addition, DOE recommendations accept not historically been fabricated publically available. The EPA, however, does broadcast accustomed SRE volumes in an online dashboard.
Within the added apprehension of proposed rulemaking appear on Oct. 15 the EPA did board abstracts on accomplished DOE recommendations. For acquiescence year 2016, the EPA said the DOE recommended SREs equating to 440 actor RINs. The EPA, however, absolutely accustomed SREs accounting for about 790 actor RINs. Similarly, the DOE’s acquiescence year 2017 advocacy accomplished 1.02 billion RINs, far lower than the estimated 1.82 billion RINs accomplished by the EPA. For acquiescence year 2018, the DOE recommended the EPA accept SREs accounting for 840 RIN actor RINs, far lower than the 1.43 billion RINs annual of SREs accustomed by the agency.
In the final rule, the EPA appear its new accepted activity admission to SREs activity forward, including for now-pending 2019 petitions as able-bodied as approaching 2019 and 2020 petitions. “Although final decisions on any absolution abode charge avant-garde EPA’s cancellation and acknowledgment of those petitions, EPA intends to admission abatement constant with DOE’s recommendations area appropriate,” the bureau said in the final rule. “This activity extends to DOE’s recommendations of fractional (50 percent) relief: area adapted we intend to admission 50 percent abatement area DOE recommends 50 percent relief.”
In a annual appear advertisement the final rule, EPA said it diplomacy to carefully appraise labeling requirements for E15 and move avant-garde with allegorical regulations as needed. In accession the bureau said it “will abide to actively appoint with stakeholders to aggrandize the cardinal of accustomed ammunition pathways and add assortment to the biofuel mix in the United States.” According to the EPA, it has accustomed 25 petitions for new ammunition pathways aback January 2017. The bureau said it “will abide to added analyze opportunities to abolish authoritative burdens that avant-garde exchange admission and advance to accustomed gas, adjustable ammunition vehicles, and E85 fuels.”
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The final aphorism does not booty activity on the U.S. Cloister of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s adjourn of its 2016 RFS rule. The cloister alone EPA’s use of the accepted abandonment ascendancy beneath a award of bare calm supply. The cloister begin that such use exceeded EPA’s ascendancy beneath the Apple-pie Air Act because the bureau had impermissibly advised demand-side factors in its appraisal rather than attached its appraisal to supply-side factors. The cloister adjourned the aphorism aback to EPA for added consideration. In its proposed aphorism to set 2020 RVOs, the EPA proposed that the applicative RVO for absolute renewable ammunition and the associated allotment accepted should not be changed. “In ablaze of the abounding comments received, we are still actively because this issue,” the bureau said in the final rule. “We are accordingly not demography final bureau activity on this affair in today’s final rule. We are instead deferring activity on this affair to a abstracted action, which we avant-garde in aboriginal 2020.”
The EPA additionally said that USDA, through a approaching action, will accompany opportunities through the annual activity to accede basement projects that would board college biofuel blends.
The biofuel industry has abundantly responded to the final aphorism with criticism, slamming the bureau for its bait-and-switch on SRE policy.
The Renewable Fuels Association bidding disappointment, arguing that the aphorism opens the aperture for SREs to abide to abrade RFS volumes and abort appeal for America’s biofuel producers and farmers.
“After EPA’s affected corruption of the SRE diplomacy in contempo years, bureau admiral had a adventitious to assuredly accomplish things appropriate with this final rule—but they blew it,” Geoff Cooper, admiral and CEO of the RFA. “EPA’s aphorism fails to bear on Admiral Trump’s charge to restore candor to the RFS, and it fails to board the bazaar authoritativeness badly bare by booze producers, farmers, and consumers attractive for lower-cost, cleaner ammunition options. While the final aphorism is an advance over the aboriginal proposal, it still does not agreement that the law’s 15-billion-gallon accepted biofuel aggregate affirmation will be absolutely activated by EPA in 2020.”
“After accomplishing the exact adverse in contempo years, EPA is now suggesting it will chase DOE’s recommendations on 2020 SRE petitions,” Cooper continued. “So, now the cat-and-mouse bold begins. We’ll accept to delay with aside animation until at atomic the bounce of 2021 to see whether EPA absolutely makes acceptable on its affiance to chase DOE recommendations on 2020 SREs.”
“With historically low RIN acclaim prices, almanac aerial RIN stocks, and abounding food of bargain booze available, it will be difficult—if not impossible—for refiners to affirmation they charge a ‘hardship’ absolution for 2019,” Cooper said. “Still, EPA’s admission to the 2019 SRE petitions will apparently be a appealing acceptable indicator of whether the bureau is absolutely absorbed in afterward DOE recommendations and appliance added abstemiousness and acumen affective forward.”
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RFA additionally apprenticed the administering to agilely move avant-garde on the added elements of the biofuels amalgamation appear by EPA on October 4, including streamlining E15 labeling requirements, removing added barriers to the auction of E15, acclamation booze barter barriers, and ablution a diplomacy to aggrandize basement for college booze blends.
“Offsetting the RFS volumes absent to SREs was alone one allotment of the plan promised by the Admiral and formed out by EPA in October,” Cooper said. “And while the plan appear by EPA today for acclamation SREs doesn’t go about far enough, the booze industry is acquisitive to assignment with EPA and USDA to bound apparatus the added abatement measures included in the package.”
The American Coalition for Booze said the final aphorism fails to advocate Admiral Trump’s biofuel deal. “Over the advance of the accomplished few months, we’ve gone from promises of a ‘giant package’ to the absoluteness of a agglomeration of coal,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “To say we are aghast is an understatement. While it was able-bodied accepted this rulemaking would not accomplish farmers and the booze industry ‘whole’ for the accident EPA has done by abusing the baby refinery absolution accouterment of the RFS, we were led to accept the aphorism would represent a footfall in the appropriate direction, an befalling to annual in a allusive way for refinery waivers.
“We are affected yet afresh to abide arresting the RFS and angry EPA’s corruption of the diplomacy in the third annex of government, but this is addition aching admonition our industry needs to go on breach with a new plan to admission appeal on ethanol’s low carbon and aerial octane advantages,” Jennings continued.
Growth Activity said added activity is bare by EPA to restore biofuel growth. “President Trump apprenticed to bear authoritativeness and adherence for America’s farmers and biofuel producers by abating candor to the RFS,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Advance Energy. “While we’re encouraged that EPA is assuredly demography accomplish to chase the law and annual for biofuel appeal absent to backstairs oil refinery exemptions, this aphorism leaves important assignment unfinished.
“Integrity is adequate to the RFS alone if the bureau accurately accounts for exemptions it will grant,” Skor continued. “The aphorism uses an accounting blueprint based on Department of Activity recommendations, which EPA has a poor clue almanac of following. All eyes will now be on EPA’s abutting annular of refinery exemptions and approaching targets, which will arresting whether Administrator Wheeler is absolutely committed to catastrophe appeal destruction.
“Additionally, Administrator Wheeler charge act apace to breach bottomward actual bazaar barriers to E15 as promised in the October 4 EPA announcement,” she said. “When the RFS is alive as advised and government has alone bazaar admission barriers, drivers beyond the nation will able to booty abounding advantage of the administration’s move to absolve sales of E15 year-round.”
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“We are beholden to all our champions who accept formed endlessly to restore advance beneath the RFS, and we attending avant-garde to alive with them in the year avant-garde to restore the biofuels bazaar for America’s disturbing farmers and biofuel producers,” Skor added.
The Coalition for Renewable Accustomed Gas did not abode the EPAs SRE accomplishments in a annual it released, but did acceptable annual that the bureau additional the 2020 cellulosic RVO in the final rule. “The RFS has helped activation the arresting advance of America’s RNG industry. We acceptable today’s final aphorism accouterment for a 41 percent admission in the program’s cellulosic biofuel target, and we acknowledge the Administration’s alertness to advance the broadcast assembly and use of cellulosic biofuels,” said Johannes Escudero, CEO and controlling administrator of the RNG Coalition.
“From here, we attending avant-garde to alive constructively with EPA and the administering to accomplish added improvements to the RFS that advance bazaar adherence and annual for the appulse of carryforward RINs in approaching rulemakings,” Escudero continued. “The RNG industry stands accessible to board accretion volumes of high-quality cellulosic biofuel to consumers in the years to come.”
The National Biodiesel Board bidding disappointment with the abridgement of advance in the 2020 RVOs and the EPA’s alignment for accounting for SREs. “EPA’s final aphorism for the 2020 RFS volumes is artlessly out of footfall with Congressional absorbed and Admiral Trump’s promises,” said Kurt Kovarik, carnality admiral of federal diplomacy at the NBB. “This week, Congress and the admiral are extending the biodiesel tax allurement through 2022 and sending an apparent arresting that they abutment connected advance of biodiesel and renewable diesel. At the aforementioned time, EPA Administrator Wheeler is accomplishing aggregate he can to block that growth.”
“Despite his annual to the press, Administrator Wheeler’s adjustment for ciphering approaching baby refinery exemptions does not board affirmation to the biodiesel and renewable agent market,” Kovarik continued. “The best appraisal of approaching exemptions is an boilerplate of the 38 billion gallons exempted over the accomplished three years. Even if EPA had included that estimate, though, there is annihilation in today’s aphorism to ensure that the bureau will get these exemptions beneath control.”
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization said EPA’s final aphorism adds added ambiguity in U.S. renewable ammunition policy. “Unfortunately, this final aphorism from EPA does not allay apropos we had back the abstract aphorism was appear beforehand this year,” said Stephanie Batchelor, carnality admiral of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section. “The abridgement of advance for avant-garde and cellulosic biofuels, and the abortion to absolutely reallocate the gallons absent from the desperate amplification of baby refinery exemptions, will abide to asphyxiate advance in blooming activity breakthroughs. This final aphorism will accept a abiding abrogating appulse on the country’s renewable fuels industry as we’ve already apparent plants abutting because of the agency’s abetment of the activity to date.”
“While BIO appreciates the active assignment of biofuel champions on Capitol Hill in acute the administering to accompany authoritativeness to renewable ammunition policy—in particular, Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Representatives Cindy Axne, Rodney Davis and Abby Finkenauer—we are abundantly anxious that the administering continues to attenuate the RFS and fails to accept that the absorbed of the diplomacy is to abound the bazaar for clean, avant-garde fuels,” Batchelor continued.
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A abounding archetype of the final aphorism can be downloaded from the EPA’s website.
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