EPA opens comment period on biointermediates, CCS and other regs

In Washington, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to update both its renewable fuels and other fuels regulations to reflect changes in the marketplace and to promote the growing use of both ethanol fuels (conventional and advanced) and non-ethanol advanced and cellulosic biofuels. The EPA is proposing to make several changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program regulations that would align them with recent developments in the marketplace to increase production of cellulosic and other advanced biofuels. There are several companies that have developed renewable fuel production technologies that produce a “biointermediate” at one facility that is then processed into renewable fuel at another facility, and we are proposing regulatory changes to allow fuels produced through such methods to qualify under existing approved renewable fuel production pathways. This action also proposes to update our fuel regulations by defining fuel blends containing 16 to 83 volume percent ethanol as ethanol flex fuel (EFF) and to no longer treat fuel blends containing 16 to 50 volume percent ethanol as gasoline. The EPA is proposing environmentally protective fuel quality specifications for EFF that are consistent with those already in place for gasoline. In this action we are also proposing new pathways for cellulosic biofuel produced from short-rotation trees and for renewable diesel and biodiesel produced from non-cellulosic portions of separated food waste. The EPA is also proposing to add new registration, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements for facilities using carbon capture and storage if it were to approve the use of this technology in future assessments of proposed pathways for producing qualifying renewable fuel. It is also seeking comment on how best to implement and/or revise the RFS regulations pertaining to the generation of RINs for renewable electricity used as transportation fuel. Finally, it is proposing a number of other regulatory changes, clarifications, and technical corrections to the RFS program and other fuels regulations.

Comments must be received on or before January 17, 2017. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), comments on the information collection provisions are best assured of consideration if the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) receives a copy of your comments on or before December 16, 2016.

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