The Environmental Protection Agency finalized its extension of compliance deadlines for renewable volume obligations or ‘RVOs’ for 2019 through 2022, drawing swift fire from biofuel groups. The EPA says the deadline extension is needed due to the agency’s delay in issuing RFS volume obligations and the domino impact that had down the line on compliance decisions.
Still, biofuel groups were disappointed. Renewable Fuels Association chief Geoff Cooper said; “EPA is giving refiners even more time to show that they met those standards, and it’s also ‘kicking the can down the road’ on compliance deadlines for 2021 and 2022.”
Cooper argues that EPA just gave itself unilateral power to delay yearly RFS blending requirements set by Congress whenever it feels like it. “They’re saying, moving forward, even once we clean this current mess up, moving forward, we’re just going to set these compliance deadlines whenever we want, based on when we get these annual RVO rulemakings done and out the door, and I just think that is…it’s just wrong.”
And it won’t help the marketplace prepare for compliance, long-term according to Cooper. “It just breeds more confusion in the marketplace, and it also gives the refiners more latitude and more wiggle room for mischief.
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor complains that delaying compliance deadlines completely contradicts efforts to lower gas prices and use more of the cleaner, lower-carbon fuels. “By continuing to delay compliance deadlines, the EPA is creating uncertainty in the marketplace and stunting the blending of the biofuel needed to decarbonize transportation as the Renewable Fuel Standard intended,” Skor says.
She also says it’s vital that the EPA moves forward on getting the RFS back on track. “EPA can start by swiftly finalizing the proposed volumes for 2022,” she adds. “Administrator Regan has emphasized time and again the need for transparency and certainty regarding the RFS. We need him to follow through on his promises to the industry and provide that certainty for biofuel producers.”