EPA Issues Supplementary Proposal on Renewable Fuel Standard

The agency proposes adjustments to how the annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated.

October 16, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The EPA notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, the agency proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance. 

Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions.

The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way renewable fuel percentages are calculated. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries.

Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables, while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

EPA will hold a public hearing on Oct. 30, 2019, and comments are due to the agency by Nov. 29.

The agency will finalize this action later this year.

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