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December 16, 2016

EPA Convenes Hearing On Proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule

Kathleen M Roberts

On December 6, 2016, EPA held a hearing on its proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support rule.  The proposed rule would update the regulatory structure to allow biofuel producers to process and convert biomass at different facilities, update fuel regulations to allow for more high-ethanol fuel blends in flex fuel vehicles, and permit cellulosic biofuels to be produced from new feedstock sources.  Testimony provided by Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) focused on the impact of the proposed rule on the development of the E15 market and strengthening ethanol flex-fuel provisions.  Geoff Cooper, the senior vice president of RFA, stated that RFA was opposed to EPA establishing a quality survey program to collect and analyze ethanol flex-fuel samples, and highlighted the different treatment between E10 and E15 regarding volatility. Chris Bliley, the director of regulatory affairs for Growth Energy, also pushed EPA to resolve the vapor pressure relief issue, stating that the proposal would isolate E15 as the only ethanol-blended fuel without Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) relief in conventional areas.  Bliley supported the development of cellulosic biofuels through the use of biointermediates and new pathways, as well.  More information on the proposed rule is available in the BRAG blog post EPA Announces Public Hearing For Proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.   The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2016.  Comments are due by January 17, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).