EPA Announces RFS2 Proposed Rule for 2012
This past week, the EPA released a series of proposed rules relating to RFS2 (overview of RFS2). Originally enacted by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded by the Energy Independence Act of 2007 (“EISA”), the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”) represents the country’s most comprehensive and effective policy for improving energy security and reducing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Under RFS2, EPA has authority to set the mandate levels for renewable fuel targets. U.S. petroleum refiners and importers are obligated parties under the program and must prove compliance by purchasing a sufficient quantity of these fuels.
Staggering in its scale, complexity, and scope, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Renewable Fuels Standard (“RFS2″) has proven to be a challenging rule to implement. Compounding the difficulty, market unavailability for several categories of advanced biofuels forced the agency to lower targets in 2011. Although the Agency proposes to raise targets for 2012, they still fall short of the goals set forth under EISA, most notably, for cellulosic ethanol.
The proposed targets are as follows:
- Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91%)
- Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21%)
- Cellulosic biofuels (3.45 – 12.9 million gallons; 0.002 – 0.010%)
- Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.21%)
As Biofuels Digest points out, while the cellulosic range is between 3 and 13 million, lower than the 6.5 million to 25.5 million range set forth in 2011, EPA projects that other advanced biofuels will make up the difference. The Agency will continue to evaluate the market as it works to finalize the cellulosic standard in the coming months. The agency remains optimistic that the commercial availability of cellulosic biofuel will continue to grow in the years ahead.
Public comments on the rule must be received by August 11, 2011. These may be submitted through a variety of means, perhaps most conveniently through an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with reference to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0133. Commenters are advised to carefully review confidential business information and other requirements related to comment submission. EPA’s prior rulemakings in this area have drawn substantial comments, and these comments have often resulted in significant changes being integrated into the Final Rule. The EPA also announced its plan to hold a public hearing regarding the rule at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th Street NW., Washington, DC 20005 on July 12, 2011 beginning at 9:00 am.
The final rule is available here (PDF).