EPA schedules public hearing on proposed rule to update RFS

By Erin Voegele | October 31, 2016

The U.S. EPA has announced plans to hold a public hearing on Dec. 6 in Chicago for its proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule. Those who wish to testify must contact the EPA by Nov. 22.

The EPA released the proposed rule on Oct. 3. According to the agency, the proposal aims to enhance the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program and related fuel regulations to support the growth of ethanol and other renewable fuels. It includes an updated regulatory structure to allow biofuels producers to partially process feedstock at one facility and convert the resulting material into fuels at another using existing pathways. It also updates fuel regulations to allow expanded availability of high-ethanol fuel blends for use in flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) and includes new feedstock approvals for cellulosic biofuels produced from short-rotation poplar and willow, cellulosic diesel produced from compressing of cellulosic feedstocks and petroleum, and renewable diesel and biodiesel produced from non-cellulosic portions of separated food waste. In addition, the EPA said it is seeking comments on a variety of other issues, including renewable identification number (RIN) generation for renewable electricity used as transportation fuel and requirements for facilities that could use carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce carbon in the production of renewable fuels in the future.

The hearing is scheduled to take place at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago. The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. CST and end when all parties present who wish to speak have had an opportunity to do so. Those who would like to testify at the hearing are directed to contact Julia MacAllister with the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Assessment and Standards Division.

According to the EPA, the hearing will provide interested parties with the opportunity to present data, views or arguments concerning the proposed rule. The agency said it may ask clarifying questions during the hearing, but will not respond to presentations at that time. Written statements and supporting information submitted during the comment period will be considered with the same weight as oral comments and supporting information presented at the hearing.

A 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule is set to begin following its publication in the Federal Register. It is currently unclear when the rule will be published.

Additional information on the hearing is available on the EPA’s website.