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Renewable Fuels Pathways Final Rule
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On July 2, 2014, EPA released a signed, pre-published version of its final rule for "Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Pathways II and Modifications to the RFS Program, Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Requirements, and E15 Misfueling Mitigation Requirements." Under the rule, EPA qualifies certain additional fuel pathways that the Agency has determined meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction requirements for cellulosic biofuel under the RFS. The final rule also provides guidance regarding the feedstocks that EPA considers to be crop residues, including clarification that EPA considers corn kernel fiber to be a crop residue. In addition, under the rule, EPA is also "finalizing other minor amendments related to survey requirements associated with the ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) program and misfueling mitigation regulations for 15 volume percent ethanol blends (E15)." A copy of the rule is available online.


The final rule differs from the proposed version of the rule in several respects. For instance, in its "fact sheet" describing the rule, EPA states that it is "not finalizing the proposed advanced butanol pathway, the proposed pathways for the production of renewable diesel, naphtha and renewable gasoline from biogas, the definition of responsible corporate officer, or the proposed amendments to compliance related provisions in Section 80.1452 (requirements related to the EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS)). The Agency is deferring a final decision on these matters until a later time."


Under the final rule, the following pathways are now qualified for cellulosic and advanced fuel under the RFS:


* Compressed natural gas produced from biogas from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, and separated municipal solid waste (MSW) digesters;

* Liquefied natural gas produced from biogas from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, and separated MSW digesters; and

* Electricity used to power electric vehicles produced from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, and separated MSW digesters.


With this rule, EPA is trying to help facilitate RFS compliance by allowing additional pathways to qualify under the program.