RFS2 On the Way, White House Approves Indirect GHGs from Biofuels
Though still no official announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency, the White House has cleared the way for indirect greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels.
The New York Times reports that the Office of the Management and Budget signed off on the controversial rule yesterday, clearing the way for the EPA to proceed with its renewable fuel standard 2.0 (RFS2).
The original RFS was enacted under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) and amended by EISA, and requires the blending of biofuels in the US fuel supply: 36 billion gallons of biofuels annually by 2022, of which, 15 billion gallons must be corn-based ethanol. The dual purposes of EISA are to reduce dependence on foreign oil and encourage further biofuel innovation:
[T]he production of transportation fuels from renewable energy would help the United States meet rapidly growing domestic and global energy demands, reduce the dependence of the United States on energy imported from volatile regions of the world that are politically unstable, stabilize the cost and availability of energy, and safeguard the economy and security of the United States.
EISA mandates that GHG emission assessments must evaluate the full lifecycle emission impacts of fuel production including both direct and indirect emissions as well as significant emissions from land use changes.
Under the proposed RFS2, the full lifecycle emissions of feedstocks would be assessed. The draft regulations EPA proposed last year sparked outrage from biofuels advocates and farm-state lawmakers who maintained the agency was unfair to ethanol. Despite the go-ahead from the White House, the EPA may try to scale back its indirect land use accounting in response to strong opposition from renewable fuels industry representatives and Congressional Ag committee members.
Look for the EPA announcement around 3pm EST.