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BIO comments on proposed RFS

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

BIO, as a leader of over 90 companies in the development of advanced and cellulosic biofuels, has submitted comments on the EPA’s proposed rules for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 RFS. BIO’s comments make clear that it the agency does not correct its course on the program, it will continue to undermine the goals and requirements of the statute, undercut investment in advanced and cellulosic biofuels, and raise greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation fuel sector.


Brent Erickson, Executive VP, BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section commented, “the RFS has been a critical piece of our nation’s energy and climate policy. It has driven the investment of billions of dollars in the development and commercial deployment of ultra low carbon biofuels. It has spurred innovation beyond biofuels to the development of greener technologies and manufacturing processes while curbing out dependence on foreign oil. These developments were intended by Congress when Congress created the RFS program.

“Unfortunately, as explained in our comments, EPA’s new interpretation of its statutory authority to waive the requirements of the RFS statute is impermissibly broad and goes beyond the bounds set by Congress. As a result, the method EPA has used to set the volumes based on its mistaken view of its waiver authority has already chilled investment for advanced biofuels and has increased US greenhouse gas emissions. If EPA issues a final rule that adopts the approach set forth in the proposed rule, the result will be continued to market uncertainty and market constraints that will further disincentivise sustained investment in advanced biofuels. Further, the proposed rule would generate even greater market uncertainty. In addition, EPA’s proposal is flawed in a number of other significant respects that lead it to under calculate the correct volumes to select.

“We submit that this outcome can be avoided. EPA can get the program back on track and can help drive the growth of the advanced and cellulosic biofuels industry in the manner that Congress intended and, indeed, required. To this end, EPA should continue to expedite the approval of new advanced and cellulosic biofuels pathways and should work to properly calculate all supplies of cellulosic biofuels to more accurately set the appropriate annual RVOs. And EPA should avoid a reading of the statute that would empower incumbent fuel producers, who want to see the program fail, to define future RFS blending obligations by their own inaction and their efforts frustrating the statutory purpose.”

BIO’s recommendations

  • Establish the cellulosic RVO for 2015 at no less than 157 million gal. and for 2016 at no less than 350 million gal. Work with foreign producers and expedite approvals of pathway petitions to bring more advanced and cellulosic biofuels into the market.
  • No reductions need be made, nor should be made, on the basis of the statue’s general waiver authority.
  • Set the 2015 and 2016 advanced and overall RVOs at the full statutory volumes; EPA has not met its burden to prove the need to reduce the volumes.
  • If EPA were able to adequately justify utilising its cellulosic waiver authority to shrink the market for advanced and overall renewable fuels, then volume obligations should be set at the highest levels achievable through the renewable fuel industry’s growing capacity to produce higher volumes in the future.
  • In setting the volumes, EPA should take into account the availability of carryover RIN credits as done in prior years.

Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd

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