RFS volume proposal for 2021-’22 at White House for review
The White House Office of Management and Budget has received the long-overdue Renewable Fuel Standard volume proposals from U.S. EPA in what is expected to be a final review before they are released for comment in the coming weeks. According to the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs dashboard, the proposal was received Aug. 26.
Statutorily the 2021 volumes for conventional, advanced and cellulosic biofuels and the 2022 requirement for biobased diesel should have been finalized and released by Nov. 30, 2020, but never were. Like his predecessors, President Joe Biden is receiving political pressure from both sides of the issue—oil and ag/biofuel interests—which, along with the pandemic, has added to the delays.
The rule is expected to include proposed volumes for 2021 and 2022 in the conventional, advanced and cellulosic biofuel categories, as well as 2022 and, potentially, the 2023 proposed volumes for biobased diesel. Two separate sources familiar with the matter said they are unsure whether the 2023 biobased diesel volumes will be addressed in the proposal currently under review at OMB.
The RFS reset proposal, a separate rule on EPA’s regulatory agenda that will address RFS post-2022, is expected by November with a final rule due by November 2022.
“Technically, all 2023 volumes were due to be finalized by November 2021, but EPA is clearly ignoring that deadline,” one source told Biobased Diesel Daily.
Another source said, “I also expect modifications to the 2020 [renewable volume obligations], but I am not sure what they are yet.” The source added that they also expect small refinery exemptions for both 2020 and 2021 to be part of the overall proposal.
The last time RFS final-rule volumes were released was in December 2019 when then-President Trump’s EPA flatlined the 2021 biobased diesel volumes at 2.43 billion gallons, the same as in 2020. The agency did, however, slightly increase the 2020 advanced biofuel volume from its proposed 5.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons to 5.09 billion, ostensibly only providing growth for cellulosic biofuel.