EPA Proposes RFS Amendments

Cindy Zimmerman

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) amendments and clarifications, which include new pathway determinations for advanced biofuels such as isobutanol and ethanol from crop residues.

epaThe EPA proposal also includes “various changes to the E15 misfueling mitigation regulations (E15 MMR) which are minor technical corrections and amendments to sections dealing with labeling, E15 surveys, product transfer documents, and prohibited acts” as well as changes to the survey requirements associated with the ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) program.

EPA is proposing to allow renewable diesel, renewable naphtha, and renewable electricity (used in electric vehicles) produced from landfill biogas to generate cellulosic or advanced biofuel RINs. Renewable compressed natural gas (CNG)/liquified natural gas (LNG) produced from landfill biogas are also proposed to generate cellulosic RINs. EPA is also proposing to allow butanol that meets the 50% GHG emission reduction threshold to qualify as advanced biofuel. The rulemaking also proposes a clarification regarding the definition of crop residue to include corn kernel fiber and proposes an approach to determining the volume of cellulosic renewable identification numbers (RINs) produced from various cellulosic feedstocks. Further, this proposal discusses and seeks comment on the potential to allow for commingling of compliant products at the retail facility level as long as the environmental perfor­mance of the commingled fuels would not be detrimental. The action also addresses “nameplate capacity” issues for certain production facilities that do not claim ex­emption from the 20% GHG reduction threshold. Several other amendments to the RFS program are included.

“This proposed rulemaking package is essentially a collection of ‘housekeeping amendments’ that will address several odds and ends that needed to be addressed in the regulatory text,” commented Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “We are pleased that among these proposed amendments is a provision clarifying that ethanol produced from the cellulosic portions of the corn kernel can qualify as cellulosic biofuel under the RFS2.”

“Companies continue to make investments, put steel in the ground, create jobs and develop technologies that reduce dependence on foreign oil and contribute to a cleaner environment,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Industrial & Environmental Section. “They are preparing to make additional investments with assurance that U.S. policy is committed to energy security and production of biofuels.”

The proposal has been submitted to the Federal Register for public comment.

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