In comments submitted today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Renewable Fuels Association expressed strong support for the agency’s proposed 2022 renewable volume obligations (RVO) while opposing the proposed retroactive reduction of the previously finalized 2020 RVO requirements.
In early December, EPA published its proposal to set the 2022 RFS implied conventional renewable fuel requirement at the statutory volume of 15 billion gallons. Unfortunately, the EPA proposal also sought to cut the 2021 conventional renewable fuel requirement to just 13.32 billion gallons and retroactively reduce the 2020 requirement—finalized in December 2019—by as much as 1.22 billion gallons.
RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper wrote that the organization is “strongly supportive of the proposed volumes for 2022 for all categories of renewable fuel,” but noted that ethanol producers are “very troubled by EPA’s questionable proposed use of its ‘reset’ authority to reopen the 2020 RVO.” According to Cooper, retroactively revising the 2020 RVO “…would set a dangerous precedent and contradict the agency’s long-held position that it does not have the authority to retroactively adjust RFS standards once finalized.”
RFA’s comments also express support for EPA’s proposal to restore 500 million gallons of illegally waived RFS requirements from the 2016 RVO, as ordered by the D.C. Circuit Court in the Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA case, calling EPA’s plan “reasonable and fair.”
In a related step, EPA simultaneously in December proposed to deny 65 pending petitions for small refinery exemptions from RFS requirements and to make changes to ensure the SRE complies with the 10th Circuit Court’s 2020 decision in the RFA v. EPA case. Separate comments on the SRE denial proposal are due on Monday, Feb. 7.
In summarizing RFA’s recommendations for EPA’s final rule, Cooper urged the agency to:
- Expeditiously finalize the proposed 2022 volumes and proposed approach to restoring the 500-million-gallon remand;
- Eliminate the proposed revision to the 2020 RVO and require obligated parties to comply with the 2020 standards finalized in 2019;
- Revise 2021 volumes to reflect a more accurate accounting of actual renewable fuel use; and
- Make official the denial of all pending SRE petitions and ensure future petitions are held to the same standards set forth in the unappealed holdings of the 10th Circuit Court decision in RFA v. EPA.