Growth Energy Intends to Sue EPA Over Biofuel Delay

The EPA has yet to release the 2021 RVO and is behind on the 2022 release deadline.

November 03, 2021

Biofuel

WASHINGTON—Growth Energy had threatened to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the agency’s delay in releasing Renewable Fuel Standard volume proposals for 2021 and 2022, according to a news release.

The EPA was supposed to issue the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) by Nov. 30, 2020, which was an annual deadline set by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), but the agency has yet to release the 2021 RVO. If the EPA does not release the 2021 RVO in 60 days, Growth Energy says it will sue.

Each year under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must calculate and promulgate renewable fuel obligations that ensure the program’s requirements are met in the upcoming year. The deadline each year is on Nov. 30.

“As of today—28 days before the statutory deadline—EPA has not even issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish those obligations. Administrative agencies usually provide a comment period of 30 days or more; historically, EPA has provided more than 40 days—and usually more than 50 days—to comment on proposed RFS rules. Additionally, EPA is barred from issuing the final rule until at least 30 days have passed since the closure of the comment period. Consequently, at this point, it is impossible for EPA to issue the 2022 renewable fuel by the statutory deadline,” wrote Growth Energy in its notice of intent to sue.

Every year, EPA is required to set the RVO so that biofuel and fossil fuel companies understand their total renewable fuel blending obligations for the following year. Failure to set the RVO undermines the RFS and could lead to uncertainty in the market and lower than necessary biofuel blending levels, according to the Growth Energy release.

“Biofuel producers faced a difficult year in 2020, with fuel demand plummeting to 30-year lows at a historic rate. At its lowest, over half the country’s biofuel plants were forced to slow down or idle, and many have still been unable to come back online. As we head into a new year and our industry continues to try and recover from the effects of COVID-19, EPA’s failure to meet their statutory obligation to issue RVOs piles on the uncertainty in the fuel marketplace. The agency needs to take action on behalf of rural America and follow through with its RFS obligation,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor in a statement.