EPA seeks comments on candidates for peer review of RFS report

By Erin Voegele | May 11, 2022

The U.S. EPA on May 9 opened a 15-day public comment period on the pool of 20 candidates who have been selected by an EPA contractor to serve on an external expert panel to peer review the EPA’s third triennial report to Congress on biofuels and the environment.

The EPA published a notice in February seeking nominations for scientific experts to serve on the panel. Nominees were accepted by EPA’s contractor, Eastern Research Group Inc. As previously indicated by the EPA, the pool of candidates selected by ERG is will subject to a public comment period after which ERG is to select a final group of nine peer reviewers. The selected peer reviewers are to have combined expertise that spans the disciplines of economics, engineering, agronomics, land use change, remote sensing, air quality, biogeochemistry, water quality, hydrology, conservation biology, limnology, and ecology.

Section 2004 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the EPA to report to congress on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard program. The reports are required to be made on a triennial basis. The first such report was completed in 2011, with the second completed in 2018. The third report will build on the previous two reports and provide an update of the impacts to date of the RFS program on the environment. The report is to assess air, water and soil quality; ecosystem health and biodiversity; and other effects.

The pool of 20 candidates includes Jacob N. Barney, Virginia Tech; Steven T. Berry, Yale University; Sarah C. Davis, Ohio University; Bernard A. Engel, Purdue University; Jason D. Hill, University of Minnesota; S. Kent Hoekman, Desert Research Institute; Atul K. Jain, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Stephen R. Kaffka, University of California, Davis; Mary Kombolias, Agrafa Solutions LLC; Lyubov A. Kurkalova, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Tyler J. Lark, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ruopi Li, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Chris Malins, Cerulogy Consulting, UK; Nathan Parker, Arizona State University; John M. Reilly, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Timothy D. Searchinger, Princeton University; Aaron Smith, University of California, Davis; Yang Song, University of Arizona; Farzad Taheripour, Purdue University; and Bin Yang, Washington State University, Tri-Cities.

Comments can be filed through May 24. Additional information is available on the Federal Register website