In Washington, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) submitted comments today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing support for a proposed legal agreement that sets specific deadlines for establishing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume levels in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In addition, the RFA comments encourage EPA to abandon the unlawful “blend wall” methodology it used for the original 2014 RFS proposal, which was later suspended.
According to observers, the EPA is expected to release the latest round of Renewable Volume Obligation orders on Monday, June 1, 2015.
The letter contains a detailed legal analysis of EPA’s waiver authorities and underscores that the Agency does not have the ability to adjust statutory RFS requirements on the basis of the so-called “ethanol blend wall” or issues associated with renewable fuel consumption. The statute clearly allows EPA to issue a general waiver only in cases where the supply of renewable fuel and RIN credits is inadequate to meet the statutory requirements. Additionally, attached to the RFA comment letter is a new statistical analysis by Informa Economics demonstrating that retail gas prices continue to be unaffected by prices for RIN credits.
“As EPA establishes the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), we strongly urge the Agency to abandon the flawed waiver methodology it initially used for the proposed rule establishing 2014 RVOs,” according to the letter. “The methodology previously used by EPA for the suspended 2014 RVO proposal ultimately rewards the intransigence of oil refiners to invest in renewable fuels infrastructure, protects their market share, and thus blocks increased volumes of cleaner and more sustainable renewable fuels from entering the marketplace. Adopting the same methodology for RVOs in 2015 and beyond would continue to reward oil companies for their stubborn refusal to follow the spirit and intent of the RFS as adopted by Congress.”
Ultimately, the RFA letter calls on EPA to “…get the RFS back on track by proposing RVOs for 2014, 2015 and 2016 that comport with statutory requirements and waiver authorities.”
A copy of the full comments can be found here.