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EPA Issues Pre-Publication Version Of Its Proposed Anti-Backsliding Determination For Renewable Fuels And Air Quality
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 29, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a pre-publication version of a proposed anti-backsliding determination that no additional measures are necessary pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 211(v) to mitigate the adverse air quality impacts of renewable fuel volumes required under CAA Section 211(o). The proposed determination will be published in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period. CAA Section 211 requires EPA to take two actions. The first action is for EPA to complete a study to determine whether renewable fuel volumes required under CAA Section 211(o) will adversely impact air quality given changes of vehicle and engine emissions of air pollutants. This study is often referred to as the anti-backsliding study and must include consideration of various blend levels, types of renewable fuels, and available vehicle technologies. The study must also include appropriate national, regional, and local air quality control measures. EPA has completed the study, which is available here.

The second action requires EPA to make a decision on whether it should proceed down one of the following paths:

  • Promulgation of fuel regulations to implement appropriate measures to mitigate any adverse impacts on air quality as a result of the renewable volumes required by Section 211; or
     
  • Determination that no such measures are required.

In this case, EPA is proposing a determination “that no additional appropriate fuel control measures are necessary to mitigate adverse air quality impacts of required renewable fuel volumes.”