Biden Administration Delays GREET Model Revision

Cindy Zimmerman

Officials from the Biden administration faced over 11,000 farmers and agricultural industry representatives today at the Commodity Classic in Houston and announced that they will miss a self-imposed March 1 deadline to complete modifications to the GREET model for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

“We’re going to take a few more weeks – and I mean weeks, not months – to make sure that the guidance is correct, that it acknowledges the work that’s being done in reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to transportation fuels, and the good work that’s being done out in the field to embrace climate-smart practices,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The model is critically important for determining eligibility for the Inflation Reduction Act’s “40B” SAF tax credit and the administration agencies involved – EPA, DOT, USDA, and DOE – had been adamant they would meet the March 1 deadline and the expectation was it would be announced by Vilsack and EPA Administrator Michael Regan at Commodity Classic.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack remarks
Classic24 Vilsack remarks 22:48
EPA Administrator Michael Regan remarks
Classic24 Regan remarks 8:43
Sec. Vilsack and Admin. Regan press conference
Classic24 Vilsack-Regan presser 17:40

RFA CEO Geoff Cooper with Sec. Vilsack and EPA Admin. Michael Regan

“While we are pleased to hear progress is being made on the modified GREET model, we are disappointed by this additional delay,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Getting the modeling right could open the door for America’s farmers and ethanol producers to participate in an enormous decarbonization opportunity. But getting it wrong will strand investments and assure the failure of the Biden administration’s climate objectives.”

Cooper was able to chat briefly with Vilsack and Regan about the delay and get some more insight into the decision. “Climate smart agriculture practices seem to be the big piece that the agencies are still struggling with in terms of how that gets folded into the model,” said Cooper.

Classic24 RFA CEO Cooper on GREET delay 6:35

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings added that since the credits are to be based on lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, every single point of carbon intensity has value, which makes it essential to get the details around any modifications to the GREET model right. “That’s why we wrote the Interagency Working Group earlier this week to emphasize the importance of a GREET model for 40B and 45Z which includes meaningful carbon credits for climate-smart agriculture practices as illustrated by ACE’s multi-year project supported by USDA’s NRCS RCPP program. We also cautioned the Interagency Working Group against a final model approach which arbitrarily inflates land use change penalties that have been disproven by real-world observations of what is actually occurring.”

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