Timelines released for EPA’s RFS, E15 label and landfill rules

By Erin Voegele | December 14, 2020

The White House Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 9 published its Fall 2020 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which provides updated timelines for U.S. EPA regulatory actions of interest to the biofuel and bioenergy industries, including those related to the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 labeling and MSW landfills.

The fall agenda includes an update on the status of the EPA’s rulemaking to set the 2021 renewable volume obligation (RVO) under the RFS and the 2022 RVO for biomass-based diesel. The agency has already missed the Nov. 30 statutory deadline to issue a final rule. In fact, the agency has yet to release a proposed rulemaking for public comment. According to the fall agenda, a notice of proposed rulemaking is scheduled to be released before the end of 2020, with a final rule expected in June 2021.

The fall agenda also indicates the EPA is expected to release a notice of proposed rulemaking on E15 label revisions and underground storage tank compatibility. In the action, the EPA co-proposes two actions regarding the E15 label. First, the agency proposes to modify the text and color of the E15 label. Second, the EPA proposes to remove the E15 label requirement entirely. The action also proposes changes to underground storage tank compatibility demonstration requirements that would help enable the use of E15 and higher-level ethanol blends. According to the fall agenda, a notice of proposed rulemaking was expected to be released in November 2020. That, however, has not yet occurred. The agenda includes no expected timeline for the release of a final rule.

The fall agenda indicates that the EPA plans to reconsider standards of performance and emission guidelines for municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. The agency said the action is in response to seven petitions for reconsideration filed by industry and environmental stakeholders after the agency finalized two rules on MSW landfills in August 2016. The Trump Administration in May 2017 announced a short-term stay of the Obama-era regulations and said it planned to issue a new notice of proposed rulemaking related to six topics that would be reconsidered. To date, that rulemaking has not been issued and the agency’s delay in implementing the 2016 rules has been the subject of legal challenges. According to the new fall agenda, the EPA currently expects to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking related to the six topics it plans to reconsider in August 2021. A final rule is scheduled to be complete one year later.