By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine.
On Sept. 26, the U.S. EPA published a notice of data availability (NODA) concerning potential reductions in renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2018 and 2019 under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The potential reductions primarily concern RVOs for biomass-based diesel, but would potentially result in corresponding reductions in RVOs for advanced biofuels and total renewable fuel.
The NODA presents historical data on imports of renewable fuel and several options for how the EPA may consider such data in establishing final RVOs using one or more of the waiver authorities provided by statute. A public comment period is scheduled to be open for 15 days following publication of the NODA in the Federal Register.
The U.S. EPA released its proposed rule to set 2018 RVOs under the RFS in July, along with the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel. In its new NODA, the EPA explains that the rulemaking included proposed reductions in statutory volume targets for advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel using the cellulosic waiver authority included in the Clean Air Act. “We proposed using the maximum reduction permitted under the authority (considering the proposed cellulosic volume requirement) to reduce the 2018 volume targets for advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel to 4.24 and 19.24 billion gallons, respectively, in part by placing a greater emphasis on cost considerations than we have in the past,” wrote the EPA in the NODA. The EPA also indicated it requested comments on possible additional reductions in advanced biofuel, with corresponding reductions in total renewable fuel, using the general waiver authority, along with comments on whether EPA should reduce the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel below the proposed 2.1 billion gallons. While the proposed rule did not specifically seek comments on a potential reduction in the 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel, the EPA said that since biomass-based diesel is nested within the advanced biofuel requirement and is the predominant source of advanced biofuel, considerations leading to a reduction of advanced biofuel may also be relevant in reducing the 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel.
Read more HERE.
View EPA's full Notice of Data Availability HERE.