The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Kathleen M. Roberts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard [RFS] Program: Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019 proposed rule.  The hearing will take place at 9:00 a.m. on August 1, 2017, and will provide an opportunity for EPA to gather data, views, and arguments on the proposed rulemaking from interested stakeholders.  While EPA does not plan to respond to presentations, the Agency may ask clarifying questions.  EPA intends to use the information to inform a future rulemaking to reset the statutory volumes for cellulosic, advanced, and total biofuels pursuant to the Clean Air Act.  In resetting the mandatory biofuel production requirements under the RFS program, EPA will need to review the implementation of the program during previous years and coordinate with the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Agriculture.  Factors that EPA must consider in its analysis include:

  • The impact of renewable fuels on the environment; 
  • The impact of the fuels on energy security; 
  • Production rates of fuels;
  • Economic impacts of fuels; and
  • The impact of renewable fuel on U.S. infrastructure. 

Stakeholders interested in testifying during the hearing should contact Julia MacAllister (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) by July 25, 2017.

Tags: EPA, RFS, Hearing

 

On December 6, 2016, EPA held a hearing on its proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support rule.  The proposed rule would update the regulatory structure to allow biofuel producers to process and convert biomass at different facilities, update fuel regulations to allow for more high-ethanol fuel blends in flex fuel vehicles, and permit cellulosic biofuels to be produced from new feedstock sources.  Testimony provided by Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) focused on the impact of the proposed rule on the development of the E15 market and strengthening ethanol flex-fuel provisions.  Geoff Cooper, the senior vice president of RFA, stated that RFA was opposed to EPA establishing a quality survey program to collect and analyze ethanol flex-fuel samples, and highlighted the different treatment between E10 and E15 regarding volatility. Chris Bliley, the director of regulatory affairs for Growth Energy, also pushed EPA to resolve the vapor pressure relief issue, stating that the proposal would isolate E15 as the only ethanol-blended fuel without Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) relief in conventional areas.  Bliley supported the development of cellulosic biofuels through the use of biointermediates and new pathways, as well.  More information on the proposed rule is available in the BRAG blog post EPA Announces Public Hearing For Proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.   The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2016.  Comments are due by January 17, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).


 

As previously reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG®) Biobased and Renewable Products Update of November 11, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a notice in the Federal Register of a public hearing for the proposed “Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.”  The proposed rule updates the regulatory structure to allow biofuel producers to process and convert biomass at different facilities, update fuel regulations to allow for more high-ethanol fuel blends in flex fuel vehicles (FFV), and permit cellulosic biofuels to be produced from new feedstock sources.  EPA is seeking comment on the programs covered in the proposal, as well as renewable identification number (RIN) generation for renewable transport fuels and regulatory requirements for facilities that could use carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the future production of renewable fuels.  More information about the proposed rule is available in the BRAG blog post “ EPA Announces Public Hearing For Proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule. ”   The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2016.  Comments are due by January 17, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).


 

On November 10, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register for a public hearing for the proposed “Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.”  The proposed rule, available on EPA’s website, was signed by EPA’s Administrator on October 3, 2016, but has not yet been published in the Federal Register.  This proposed rule will enhance the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program as well as other fuel regulations to support the growth of renewable fuels, including ethanol.  The proposed rule would update the regulatory structure to allow biofuel producers to process and convert biomass at different facilities, update fuel regulations to allow for more high-ethanol fuel blends in flex fuel vehicles (FFV), and permit cellulosic biofuels to be produced from new feedstock sources.  EPA is seeking comment on the programs covered in the proposal, as well as renewable identification number (RIN) generation for renewable transport fuels and regulatory requirements for facilities that could use carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the future production of renewable fuels.  To testify at the hearing, the notice states to contact Julia MacAllister at the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Assessment and Standards Division at (734) 214–4131 or via e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by November 22, 2016.  The hearing will be held in Chicago, Illinois on December 6, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. (CST).

Tags: EPA, RFS, Hearing

 

On May 25, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a public hearing for the proposed rule "Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2017 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018." A pre-publication version of the proposed rule is available now, with the proposed rule being published separately in the Federal Register under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0004. The proposed volumes include slight increases in all categories from the 2016 volumes, but still fall short of the volumes proposed for 2017 under Section 211 of the Clean Air Act. The public hearing will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 9, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. (CT). Parties wishing to testify at the hearing should notify the contact person listed below by May 31, 2016:

Julia MacAllister
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
Assessment and Standards Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
2000 Traverwood Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Telephone number: (734) 214-4131;
E-mail address: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


 

On November 29, 2013, EPA published its proposed rule on "2014 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program" and a "Notice of Receipt of Petitions for a Waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard." Copies of the proposed rule and notice published in the Federal Register are available online, and online. Comments on both are due by January 28, 2014.


BRAG's coverage of the pre-published versions of the proposed rule and notice is available online.


On December 5, 2013, EPA held a public hearing in Arlington, Virginia, on the proposed rule. The Agency heard from more than 140 stakeholders from every side of the RFS debate, including public officials and farmers, as well as company executives and trade associations representing the corn, biofuels, and oil and gas industries. Witness testimony was generally consistent with previous public comments.


For instance, representatives from the oil and gas industry expressed concern that the proposed rule does not go far enough. They argued generally that even with the proposed reductions to all renewable fuel volume obligations (RVO), the E10 blend wall could still be breached, which would force a restriction in gasoline availability and higher prices at the pump for consumers. A representative from the Union of Concerned Scientists pointed out that EPA should place more emphasis on the market potential of E85 as a solution to the blend wall concerns and option to help meet the statutory RFS RVOs. Representatives from the biofuels industry argued that EPA should revise the proposed rule and include higher RVOs more consistent with the RVO targets included in the RFS statute for 2014. They argued these revisions are needed to protect ongoing investment in the further development and commercialization of U.S. biofuels, especially advanced and cellulosic biofuels.
 


 

On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on CSIA, a bill to reform TSCA. CSIA was introduced earlier this year by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Senator Vitter and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) are now working to move CSIA forward through the legislative process. A Law360 article recently published by Lynn Bergeson contains a detailed discussion of the significance and provisions of this legislation. With 25 bipartisan co-sponsors, CSIA is a "potentially politically viable framework for TSCA reform and renewed hope that badly needed modernization of this ancient law may occur."


The hearing included three panels of nine witnesses and focused on CSIA and potential reform to TSCA. A detailed memorandum on the hearing issued by B&C is available online.


Senators Vitter and Udall are working to address concerns about CSIA raised during a hearing held in July 2013 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on TSCA reform. The BRAG report on that hearing may be found online.