Pressure Grows for EPA to Boost RFS Targets

Political pressure is growing for the Environmental Protection Agency to boost its Renewable Fuel Standard targets when the agency issues them next month for 2023 and beyond. Conventional ethanol above 15 billion gallons, higher advanced biofuel volumes to cover sustainable aviation fuel, and renewable diesel and e-RIN credits for electricity from biogas.

That’s what 13 Midwest senators are urging from EPA in its RFS rule due next month and that the ethanol industry argues is justified.

“There’s sort of been this myth out there that there’s a cap on conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol of 15 billion gallons, and there is no cap. The other reason is because the ethanol industry is still owed some volume from EPA that was illegally waived or inappropriately taken away from the RFS in past years.”

Renewable Fuels Association head Geoff Cooper says EPA also needs better life-cycle analysis for biofuel emissions.

“The last time EPA looked at life-cycle analysis for renewable fuels was in 2010. So, here we are, 12 years later, and it is past time for them to update their analysis because so much has changed in the industry in terms of technology and new practices.”

Is Cooper optimistic EPA will follow through on all the requests, given its track record of helping oil refiners?

“We are optimistic that this EPA is going to follow through on a lot of the commitments that have been made by Administrator Regan and President Biden on this program. And we think a lot of the sorts of things that these senators are asking for in this letter are the sorts of things we’re expecting to see in this proposal.”

But whatever’s included won’t be finalized until next June, which Cooper says leaves the marketplace “flying blind” for the first several months of next year.

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