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Best of NAMA 2023

By Jacqie Fatka, Farm Progress

The Environmental Protection Agency released the long-awaited final rule to set Renewable Fuel Standard blending levels for 2021 and 2022. The 2022 blending level is in line with Congressional intent and the 2021 number was increased from the earlier proposal. However, in an unprecedented move, the EPA also reopened and reduced the 2020 RFS rule that was finalized in December of 2019.

EPA finalized a strong renewable volume obligation or RVO for 2022, requiring the statutory volume of 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel and 5.63 billion gallons of advanced biofuels.

In addition, EPA set the 2021 RVO for conventional renewable fuel at 13.79 billion gallons, based on the latest estimates of actual consumption. Finally, EPA finalized the denial of 69 pending small refinery exemption petitions, ensuring that all refiners are held accountable and equally obligated to blend lower-carbon, lower-cost biofuels.

EPA established the applicable 2020 volume requirements and percentage standards in late 2019. Since promulgating those standards, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major drop in transportation fuel demand, and the volume of gasoline and diesel fuel exempted from 2020 RFS obligations through SREs is far lower than projected in the 2020 final rule.

In its final rule, EPA said these events adversely affected the ability of obligated parties to comply with the applicable standards and to achieve the intended volumes in the 2020 final rule. In this final rule EPA is establishing revised volumes and standards for 2020 based on the actual volumes of renewable fuel and transportation fuel used in the U.S. in 2020, as proposed late last year.

In a separate rule also released, EPA addresses the D.C. Circuit Court 500 million gallon "remand." The Court found the Obama EPA illegally reduced the 2016 conventional blend level by 500 million gallons and "remanded" the case back to EPA to restore those gallons. EPA plans to add half of those remanded gallons to the 2022 RFS level and says it will do the other half in 2023.

To read the entire report click here.

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