• Ron Kotrba

US EPA issues 4 biofuel-related announcements in Trump administration’s final days


The U.S. EPA made three announcements Jan. 15 on the Renewable Fuel Standard and one on ethanol pump labeling.


RFS compliance dates

The agency is proposing two actions to adjust RFS compliance dates. First, EPA proposes to extend the 2019 RFS compliance deadline and the associated deadline for submission of attest engagement reports for small refineries. The new deadlines would be Nov. 30, 2021, and June 1, 2022, respectively.


Second, EPA proposes to extend the 2020 RFS compliance deadline for all obligated parties and the associated deadline for submission of attest engagement reports for obligated parties and RIN-generating biofuel producers and importers, and other parties owning RINs. The new deadlines would be Jan. 31, 2022, and June 1, 2022, respectively.


“This proposed action intends to extend these deadlines ahead of the March 31, 2021, compliance deadline for the 2020 renewable fuel standards in our existing regulations,” EPA stated.


Comments are due on or before March 11.


For more information on the compliance dates proposals, click here.


Waiver petitions

EPA is seeking comment on several petitions for a waiver of the 2019 and 2020 RFS volume requirements from refineries and the governors of several states.


“These petitions argue that recent events warrant EPA exercising its general waiver authority on the basis of severe economic harm,” the agency stated.


Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.


For more information on the waiver petitions, click here.


Anti-backsliding

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to complete an anti-backsliding study to determine whether renewable fuel volumes required in the act adversely impact air quality resulting from changes in vehicle and engine emissions. EPA has ultimately determined that no additional fuel control measures are needed.


E15 labeling

EPA also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for E15 labeling. E15 is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.


Industry reaction

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said, “While the wording in today’s announcement appears to rule out the granting of further illegal RFS exemptions as had been rumored this week, we will remain vigilant until the clock strikes noon on Jan. 20. Ultimately this multifaceted rule will be adjudicated by the Biden EPA and we are ready to work with them to improve and finalize the portions of this rule that follow the law, make common sense, and increase access to biofuels. The unfounded requests by oil state governors for general RFS waivers should have been rejected months ago and the RFS compliance deadline extensions are similarly troublesome.”

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