EPA Announces Proposed RFS for 2023-2025, Will Hold Public Hearing in January
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On December 1, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a multi-part proposal that will build on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and seek to advance the priorities of energy security, less pollution, and consumer protection. The RFS “Set” proposal requests public input on required volumes of biofuel for the next one to three years and on a series of modifications intended to strengthen and expand the program. EPA states that this proposal includes steady growth of biofuels for use in the nation’s fuel supply for 2023, 2024, and 2025. EPA notes that because the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) does not include volumes after 2022, this is the first time that EPA is setting these proposed biofuel volume targets without using those outlined in statute. According to EPA, when setting biofuel volumes for years after 2022, EPA must consider a variety of factors specified in the statute, including costs, air quality, climate change, implementation of the program to date, energy security, infrastructure issues, commodity prices, and water quality and supply.
EPA is seeking comment on the proposed volumes and how to balance appropriately these factors so that the program works for renewable fuel growers and producers, refiners and the union workers who operate these facilities, and fuel consumers. According to EPA, because the rule is an opportunity to take a “fresh look” at many aspects of the program, EPA is also seeking comment on how the rule can intersect with continued viability of domestic oil refining assets, including merchant refineries, how best to support novel fuels like sustainable aviation fuels and clean hydrogen, and how to account for the new and updated incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.
EPA will also propose new regulations governing the generation of qualifying renewable electricity made from renewable biomass that is used for transportation fuel in electric vehicles. EPA seeks comment on this new component of the RFS program that would tie electricity generation from renewable biomass into the program for the first time. EPA has posted a pre-publication version of the proposed rule. Comments on the proposed rule are due February 10, 2023.
EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on January 10, 2023, on its proposed rule. 87 Fed. Reg. 76194. If necessary, EPA will hold an additional session on January 11, 2023. EPA asks that all attendees register by January 3, 2023.