By Erin Voegele, Biomass Magazine.
On Feb. 11, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on U.S. EPA policies that impact the rural economy. The renewable fuel standard (RFS) and Clean Power Plan were among the programs discussed during the nearly three-hour event.
In her testimony, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that the agency has taken steps to improve implementation of the RFS and continues to approve new agricultural feedstocks, increasing the number of pathways that biofuel producers may use to qualify their biofuel under the program. “We improved the quality, transparency, and efficiency of our petition review process for new biofuel pathways, clarified qualifying biofuels, and conducted lifecycle analyses on several new feedstocks,” she said. “The EPA remains committed to the RFS program and meeting Congress’s intent to responsibly grow renewable fuels over time.”
Responding to several questions posed during the hearing, McCarthy stressed that the EPA intends to keep on track with its future RFS rulemaking. While not specifically addressed by McCarthy during the hearing, the EPA’s Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker currently states the agency initiated rulemaking for the 2017 RFS standards and 2018 standards for biomass-based diesel in August, with a notice of proposed rulemaking expected to be published in the Federal Register in June.