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EPA Proposes Renewable Volume Obligations for 2020

Industry groups including NEFI criticized a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2020, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume standard for calendar year 2021. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, upon issuing the proposed rule on July 5, said it put EPA on target to publish the final RFS Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) on time for the third consecutive year.


“Unlike the previous administration, we have consistently issued the annual renewable volume obligations rule on time, which is critically important to America’s farmers and all stakeholders impacted by the Renewable Fuel Standard program,” Wheeler said.

NEFI objected. “Our industry needs a robust biodiesel industry to continue providing consumer choice and meet our stated objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” NEFI President Sean Cota said in the Institute’s newsletter, NEON. “The administration’s proposal, which does little more than maintain the status quo, is inconsistent with a growing and competitive Bioheat market,” Cota said. NEFI noted that the EPA rulemaking establishes a public comment period for 30 days after a public hearing on the proposal is held. NEFI said it will file comments with the EPA on the proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) and small refiner exemptions (SREs).

In its announcement, EPA said “conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, would be maintained at the implied 15-billion-gallon target set by Congress. Here is more from the EPA announcement:

EPA is proposing an advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2020 of 5.04 billion gallons, which is 0.12 billion gallons higher than the advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2019.

The cellulosic biofuel volume requirement of 0.54 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons for 2020 is based on our production projection which is 0.12 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons higher than the cellulosic biofuel volume finalized for 2019.

We are proposing to maintain the biomass-based diesel (BBD) volume for 2021 at 2.43 billion gallons. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volumes of biofuels that must be used for transportation fuel for four categories of biofuels: total, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass-based diesel. EPA is using the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets based on current market realities. EPA implements the RFS program in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy. 

For more information on the announcement, go to: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/proposed-volume-standards-2020-and-biomass-based-diesel-volume-2021

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