RFA requests Oregon Clean Fuels Program treats all fuels fairly

By Renewable Fuels Association | November 10, 2014

The Renewable Fuels Association has submitted comments to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality detailing a number of requested changes to the proposed rule for Phase 2 of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, including the recommendation that indirect effects be withheld from the program’s lifecycle carbon intensity analyses for various fuel pathways.

Phase 1 of the Oregon CFP, which is structured similarly to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, included carbon intensity scores for ethanol and all other fuel pathways that were based strictly on verifiable direct emissions. However, for Phase 2 of the program, Oregon DEQ is proposing to introduce subjective and uncertain penalty factors for hypothetical indirect land use changes (ILUC) for select biofuels, but no indirect effect penalty factors for any other fuel types. RFA’s comments underscore the fact that “Inclusion of highly uncertain and prescriptive ILUC factors creates an asymmetrical and discriminatory framework for the CFP.”

RFA urged that DEQ remove ILUC from the proposed rule “…until such time as there is broad scientific agreement on the best methodology for estimating the indirect effects for all fuels” and that “If DEQ includes ILUC for biofuels, it must also include indirect emissions associated with all other regulated fuels (including baseline petroleum).”

Even if DEQ’s proposal to include ILUC was justified, the letter points out that “…DEQ is proposing to use factors that have been shown to be grossly exaggerated and based on outdated information and data.” In fact, DEQ is planning to adopt ILUC penalties developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2009 for that state’s LCFS. Even CARB has recognized that its 2009 ILUC factors are flawed and is planning to propose revisions to those values.

RFA’s comments concluded that, “The U.S. ethanol industry will continue to support performance-based low carbon fuel programs that are grounded in the principles of fairness, sound science, and consistent analytical boundaries. However, introducing concepts that lack scientific integrity and balance into the regulatory framework (i.e., ILUC for biofuels but no indirect effects for other fuels) only creates stakeholder division and controversy.”

RFA addresses a number of additional concerns in the letter, which can be found here.