Feinstein urges EPA to update feedstock eligibility under RFS

By Erin Voegele | December 13, 2021

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Dec. 7 sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to revise the Renewable Fuel Standard to allow biomass harvested from federal land as part of wildfire mitigation efforts to be an eligible feedstock under the program.

“As you may know, Section 201 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) allows biomass from federal land to be sourced ‘from the immediate vicinity of buildings and other areas regularly occupied by people, or of public infrastructure, at risk from wildfire,’” she wrote. “In 2010, the EPA published implementation guidelines for that category in its final rule, ‘Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.’ Unfortunately, the implementation of this law did not account for areas with wildfire hazard potential and excluded most of the Western United States where catastrophic wildfires are increasing common.”

A map attached to the letter illustrates the significant risk of wildfires in the western portion of the U.S.

“As this year’s fuel quantities become finalized, I urge the EPA, in conjunction with federal land management agencies, to expand the criteria for which qualifying biomass could be sourced and, thus, eligible for credits under the cellulosic category in the RFS,” Feinstein wrote. “This determination should be made in accordance with the latest science, and to recognize the exacerbating threat that climate change poses to catastrophic wildfire in the American West.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Feinstein’s website