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Comment period opens on EPA rule to update RFS, fuel regulations

By Erin Voegele | November 21, 2016

On Nov. 16, U.S. EPA’s proposed Renewable Enhancement and Growth Support rule was published in the Federal Register, officially opening a 60-day public comment period on the proposal. Comments are due Jan. 17.

The EPA first released the proposed rule on Oct. 3. According to the agency, the proposal aims to enhance the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program and related fuel regulations to support the growth of ethanol and other renewable fuels.

The proposal includes an updated regulatory structure to allow biofuels producers to partially process feedstock at one facility and convert the resulting material into fuels at another using existing pathways. It also updates fuel regulations to allow expanded availability of high-ethanol fuel blends for use in flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) and includes new feedstock approvals for cellulosic biofuels produced from short-rotation poplar and willow, cellulosic diesel produced from compressing of cellulosic feedstocks and petroleum, and renewable diesel and biodiesel produced from non-cellulosic portions of separated food waste. In addition, the EPA said it is seeking comments on a variety of other issues, including renewable identification number (RIN) generation for renewable electricity used as transportation fuel and requirements for facilities that could use carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce carbon in the production of renewable fuels in the future.

Comments can be filed electronically at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0041. The U.S. EPA also recently announced plans to hold a public hearing for the proposal on Dec. 6 in Chicago. Those who wish to testify must contact the EPA by Nov. 22. 

A PDF of the proposed rule, which spans more than a 150 pages, can be downloaded from the Federal Register website