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Reform The RFS

The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is the main propeller for expanding the production and use of advanced biofuels in the United States. However, changes to the statute and the implementation of the RFS can improve the law to better support the advanced and cellulosic industries, which in turn will help to close the electrification gap and decarbonize transportation fuel.

The members of the ABFA call on Congress to reform the RFS to better reward fuels that deliver higher emissions reductions, and to speed its regulatory approval process as innovative fuels, feedstocks, and technology pathways come to market. In absence of congressional action, ABFA encourages the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a number of adjustments to the RFS under its current statutory authority.

Timely Regulatory Action from EPA

EPA’s delays in releasing the mandated annual RVOs have caused distortion in the biofuels markets, and uncertainty around the future RFS program. Moreover, ABFA member companies have faced wait times of more than five years for approving new technologies and feedstocks under the program’s pathway process. These delays disproportionately impact the most innovative, low-carbon advanced fuels. To support the advanced biofuels industry, EPA must move timely and expeditiously through the rulemaking processes supporting the RFS program including both the RVO process and pathway approvals.

Statutory Clarity for Feedstock Definitions, Tracking Requirements

In many regulatory applications, EPA has used wide discretion to develop rules that create or worsen barriers to entry and economic burdens for the low-carbon fuel industry. Some of EPA’s interpretations of the statutory definitions in the RFS, impacting the use of wood, co-processing, or requiring segregation of municipal solid waste (MSW) and wood, have made commercialization of the advanced and cellulosic industry economically impossible irrespective of crude prices. We must provide more definitional inclusiveness, not prescriptive applications, to allow emerging markets such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) more feedstock choice.

Certainty For Advanced Biofuels Beyond 2022

After 2022, EPA has much broader discretion in the RFS program implementation. EPA should use this opportunity, known colloquially as the “set” process, to adapt a layered blending approach that rewards additional GHG emissions reductions in fuel incorporated throughout the value chain. EPA should continue strong mandates for the advanced biofuels pool to advance the country toward a lower-carbon future for the liquid transportation fuel sector.

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