WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor welcomed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed “Set” rulemaking on the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“We’re grateful to President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for keeping clean energy on an upward trajectory that will move America closer to a net-zero future” said Skor. “As we saw again this summer, biofuels remain the single best tool available to shield motorists from volatile global oil prices and rapidly decarbonize the transportation sector.
“We are greatly encouraged by EPA’s strong proposal and appreciative of Administrator Regan’s support for the growing role ethanol continues to play in decarbonizing the transportation sector, now and into the future.”
The agency’s draft proposal sets total renewable fuel 2023 volumes at 20.82 billion gallons, with 15 billion gallons implied conventional biofuel, 5.82 billion gallons of advanced biofuel, and 720 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, and includes 250 million additional gallons in response to the ACEI litigation from 2017. For 2024, the proposal raises implied conventional biofuel volumes to 15.25 billion gallons, advanced biofuel to 6.62 billion gallons, and cellulosic biofuel to 1.42 billion gallons. EPA’s proposal sets 2025 gallons at 15.25 billion gallons for implied conventional biofuel, 7.43 billion gallons for advanced, and 2.13 billion gallons for cellulosic biofuel.
“We’re also appreciative that the proposal restores the final 250 million gallons of biofuel demand that had been illegally waived in the agency’s 2016 rule – a long-overdue fix that began with 2022 volumes,” added Skor. “Moving forward, our opportunities for growth across both conventional and advanced biofuels are linked, so it’s important that EPA’s volumes must reflect industry growth and innovation – especially when it comes to the rapid expansion of renewable diesel.”
“We also must ensure that the final rule preserves the integrity of the RFS when it comes to new renewable fuel sources, like those tracked by e-RINs. All new pathways must include safeguards to address double-counting, fraud risks, and other requirements to ensure that truly renewable energy is being harnessed to fuel our transportation needs.
“At the same time, the agency must clear the backlog of pathway approvals for advanced and cellulosic biofuels, including cellulosic biofuels from kernel fiber and advanced biofuels from corn oil produced at ethanol wet mills, and better leverage this opportunity to account for all of the innovation taking place in the renewable transportation industry. That will require updated modeling to reflect the best available science on low-carbon ethanol, including benefits of carbon capture technology and other innovations biofuel plants are deploying in the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
“We look forward to working with the agency as it finalizes this proposal so that we’re tapping the full potential of the RFS and meeting EPA’s final rule deadline included under a consent decree with Growth Energy.
“America’s biofuel producers and our farm partners are ready to lead the charge on climate and energy solutions, and a firm commitment to growth will offer regulatory certainty and predictability in the years ahead.”
For 2023 and beyond under the RFS, EPA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is required to set renewable fuel volume requirements through rulemaking, taking into consideration six statutory factors, including environmental, economic, and energy security.
On July 22, 2022, Growth Energy and EPA submitted a consent decree agreement to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that requires EPA to propose the 2023 renewable fuel volume requirements no later than November 16, 2022, and to finalize those requirements no later than June 14, 2023. On November 4, 2022, Growth Energy agreed to a two-week extension on the proposal.
The consent decree agreement followed Growth Energy’s notice of intent to sue and filing of a complaint in federal district court in response to the agency’s violation of the statutory deadlines to issue renewable fuel volume requirements for the RFS program.