The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) issued the following statement from Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel in response to the EPA’s announced plans for finalizing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes in the coming years:

“We are pleased to see the EPA make these further commitments toward ending these delays. Biodiesel is the most successful EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel under the RFS to date, and the Obama Administration should be doing everything it can to promote biodiesel so we can show that Advanced Biofuels are here today, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent, creating jobs and reducing our dependence on global petroleum markets that wreak havoc on our economy.”

“The RFS is the most successful policy we have for reducing emissions in the transportation sector, and it is working. We applaud the EPA for taking this step and look forward to working with the Administration in the coming weeks to get this program back on track.”

Clearly, ongoing questions will remain as to the volume levels proposed by EPA but EPA has reiterated that it “will re-propose volume requirements for 2014, by June 1, that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.”  The volumes for Biomass-based Diesel in 2014 were approximately 1.75 billion gallons so EPA reaffirming its commitment to “actual use” appears to be a step in the right direction.

Biodiesel – made from a variety of resources including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats – is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. With plants in nearly every state in the country, the industry had a record U.S. market last year of nearly 1.8 billion gallons supporting some 60,000 jobs.

Unlike other fuel categories of the RFS, biodiesel volumes – called Biomass-based Diesel under the program – are to be finalized 14 months in advance of the applicable year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a proposed consent decree in litigation brought against EPA by, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), would establish the following schedule for issuing Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014 and 2015:

  • By June 1, EPA will propose volume requirements for 2015;
  • By November 30, EPA will finalize volume requirements for 2014 and 2015 and resolve a pending waiver petition for 2014.

Outside the scope of the consent decree, EPA also commits to:

  • Propose the RFS volume requirements for 2016 by June 1, and finalize them by November 30;
  • Propose and finalize the RFS biomass-based diesel volume requirement for 2017 on the same schedule; and
  • Re-propose volume requirements for 2014, by June 1, that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.

EPA intends to issue a Federal Register Notice allowing the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed consent decree.