EPA releases RFS program for 2023-25
|The Environmental Protection Agency today, Dec. 1, released its proposed rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard for the years 2023-2025.The EPA said in the announcement, “This proposal includes steady growth of biofuels for use in the nation’s fuel supply for 2023, 2024 and 2025.”|
“Because the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) does not include volumes after 2022, this is the first time that EPA is setting these proposed biofuel volume targets without using those outlined in statute. When setting biofuel volumes for years after 2022, EPA must consider a variety of factors specified in the statute, including costs, air quality, climate change, implementation of the program to date, energy security, infrastructure issues, commodity prices, and water quality and supply.”
“This proposed rule would increase U.S. energy security by reducing U.S. oil imports by roughly 160,000 to 180,000 barrels of oil per year over the time frame of the proposed rule, 2023 to 2025,” EPA added.
“The anticipated value of the energy security benefits over the time frame of the proposed rule ranges from $200-$223 million per year.”
EPA also said “the proposal would have minimal impacts on the price of refined products.”
Corn and biofuels leaders generally praised the proposed rule, while soybean and biodiesel leaders were not as supportive.
In an analysis, DTN/Progressive Farmer noted that the proposal would increase the total volume of biofuels blended with petroleum products by more than 2 billion gallons between 2023 and 2025 and for the first time in the history of the RFS propose establishing RFS credits for electric vehicles.
DTN also noted that the proposal is required under a consent agreement with Growth Energy, to be finalized by June 14, 2023.
EPA said it is seeking comment on:
▪ the proposed volumes and how to appropriately balance these factors so that the program works for renewable fuel growers and producers, refiners and the union workers who operate these facilities and fuel consumers.
▪ how this rule can intersect with continued viability of domestic oil refining assets, including merchant refineries, how best to support novel fuels like sustainable aviation fuels and clean hydrogen, and how to account for the new and updated incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.
▪ how new regulations governing the generation of qualifying renewable electricity made from renewable biomass that is used for transportation fuel in electric vehicles would tie electricity generation from renewable biomass into the program for the first time.
|“The Renewable Fuel Standard program is critical to helping incorporate more homegrown biofuels into the market,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a news release.“|
This proposal supports low-carbon renewable fuels and seeks public input on ways to strengthen the program. With this proposal, EPA seeks to provide consumers with more options while diversifying our nation’s energy mix.
“EPA is also focused on strengthening the economics of our critical energy infrastructure, needed to maintain and boost our energy security,” Regan said.
“We’re eager to continue the dialogue on how biofuels can bolster U.S. energy security, protect consumers from high fuel costs, strengthen the rural economy, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
|National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag said, “We are pleased with EPA’s forward-looking approach of annual increases in the proposal.”|
“EPA clearly recognizes that renewable fuels like ethanol play a critical role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, increasing U.S. energy independence and providing long-term relief to consumers at the pump. With continued pressure on energy security and costs and the need to accelerate carbon emission reductions, biofuels can contribute even more, and we will make that case to EPA for the final volumes.”
|Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “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.”|
“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.
“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,” Skor said.
|Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, “EPA’s proposed rule solidifies a role for the Renewable Fuel Standard in future efforts to reduce carbon emissions and enhance our nation’s energy security.”|
“Once finalized, this rule will significantly accelerate growth and investment in the low-carbon renewable fuels that will help decarbonize our nation’s transportation sector, extend domestic fuel supplies, and bolster the rural economy.
“By including three years’ worth of RFS volumes, EPA’s proposed rule will finally provide certainty and stability for the entire supply chain. EPA Administrator Michael Regan put the RFS program back on track with the 2022 volume obligations, and today’s proposal builds upon that solid foundation.
“RFA thanks Administrator Regan and the Biden administration for continuing to make good on their commitment to grow the marketplace for lower-carbon, lower-cost renewable fuels,” Cooper said.
|Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, said, “We’re encouraged that the Biden administration continues to recognize the powerful role that the RFS can play in decarbonizing transportation.|
”The proposal could help unleash years of pent-up innovation in advanced and cellulosic biofuels. But we know from experience that the fine print matters, and we’ll be working closely with EPA to ensure the volumes promised translate into actual gallons reaching consumers.”
|But Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for Clean Fuels Alliance America, which was formerly the National Biodiesel Board, said, “EPA’s overdue set proposal significantly undercounts existing biomass-based diesel production and fails to provide growth for investments the industry has already made in additional capacity, including for sustainable aviation fuel.”|
“The volumes EPA is proposing for 2023, 2024 and 2025 ignore the more than 3 billion gallons currently in the market and fail to take into account the planned growth of the clean fuels sector.
“The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry has already made considerable investments in production capacity and distribution infrastructure that will come online by 2025. The soybean and canola industries have invested more than $4 billion to bring additional feedstock capacity online over the next several years. EPA’s proposed biomass-based diesel volumes undercut those investments.
”The American Soybean Association said the EPA’s draft set of renewable volume obligations “is deeply disappointing for the biofuels industry and threatens the integrity of the RFS by significantly dialing back annual increases in volume obligations.”
“Soy farmers were heartened by EPA’s 2022 volume target — which included the highest-ever number for total renewable fuels and specifically for biomass-based diesel since the renewable fuel standard was created — and were hopeful EPA would stay the course on a rising trajectory.”
|“America’s farmers have committed to the renewable fuels industry while continuing to provide the feed and food our country and other countries must have,” said Brad Doyle, ASA president and soy grower from Arkansas.|
“Billions of dollars have gone into building and growing the infrastructure needed to support this industry. And our president has made a clear commitment to mitigating climate change and lowering greenhouse gas emissions — the very tenets of the RFS.”
“And, yet, this draft rule slams the brakes on progress being made in biofuels investment and growth. Instead of continuing to support available, low-emission plant-based fuel sources, EPA has changed course and seemingly is ignoring the major investments in and consumer demand for biomass-based diesel and other biofuels that exists right now,” Doyle continued.
|American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “AFBF applauds EPA’s proposed increases in renewable volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard.”|
“Long-term stability and a clear indication of obligations for the next three years are welcomed along with the potential of additional producers participating under the RFS,” Duvall said.
|National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said, “As the administration is working to address climate change, we’ve long known that biofuels will play an important role in reducing greenhouse gases while having the added benefit of providing expanded opportunities for farmers.”|
“Today’s announcement is welcome news, and we want to thank EPA for their continued support of family farmers. Moving forward, we encourage the EPA to look at continued growth in advanced biofuels,” Larew said.
|Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said, “While the EPA announcement brings some consistency and certainty to blend levels for gasoline, it fails to take advantage of a growing supply of advanced biofuels that are used to move freight.”|
“Biofuels producers stand ready to help ease fuel costs, thereby lowering consumer prices, all while reducing emissions. This is the worst possible time to abandon advanced biofuels.”