EPA opens public comment period on RFS rulemaking

By Erin Voegele | June 10, 2015

On June 10, the U.S. EPA published its proposed rule to set 2014, 2015 and 2016 renewable volume requirements (RVOs) under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) in the Federal Register, officially opening the public comment period on the proposal. Comments are due July 27.

The agency released a pre-publication version of the proposed rule on May 29. It contains proposed 2014, 2015, and 2015 RVOs, along with the proposed 2017 RVO for biomass-based diesel.

According to the EPA, the proposed 2014 RVOs reflects the actual amount of domestic biofuel used last year. The cellulosic requirement is set at 33 million gallons, with the biomass-based diesel requirement set at 1.63 billion gallons, the advanced biofuel requirement set at 2.68 billion gallons, and the requirement for total renewable fuel set at 15.93 billion gallons. Statutory requirements for 2014 called for 18.15 billion gallons of renewable fuel, including 1.75 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels, and 3.37 billion gallons of total advanced biofuels.

The proposed rule calls for the 2015 RVOs to include a cellulosic requirement of 106 million gallons, a biomass-based diesel requirement of 1.7 billion gallons, an advanced biofuel requirement of 2.9 billion gallons and a requirement for total renewable fuel of 16.3 billion gallons. This is far below the statutory requirement of 20.5 billion gallons of total renewable fuel, including 3 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels and 5.5 billion gallons of total advanced biofuels.

The EPA’s proposal calls for the 2016 RVOs to include 206 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels, along with 1.8 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, 3.4 billion gallons of advanced biofuel, and 17.40 billion gallons of total renewable fuel. This is also far below the statutory requirement of 22.25 billion gallons of total renewable fuel, including 4.25 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuel and 7.25 billion gallons of total advanced biofuel.

In addition, the proposed rule aims to set the 2017 RVO for biomass-based diesel at 1.9 billion gallons.

Comments on the proposed rule can be filed under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0111 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. Additional information on submitting comments is available in the Federal Register notice.

The EPA also recently announced plans to hold a public hearing on the RFS proposal on June 25 in Kansas City, Kansas.