Legislative Hearing to Address ‘Mismanagement’ of RFS Program

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On Tuesday, Oct. 29, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing to discuss what it says is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “mismanagement” of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The hearing, entitled “Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration’s Abuse of Secret Waivers,” will examine H.R.3006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., earlier this year.

U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., chairman of the energy and commerce committee, and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., chairman of the climate change subcommittee, say in a statement, “The Renewable Fuel Standard program was implemented to diversify the transportation fuel market, strengthen energy security, reduce air pollution and combat climate change by ensuring the United States uses more renewable fuel with each passing year.

“However, the Trump administration’s abuse of EPA’s waiver authority is undermining the RFS program and devastating the renewable fuel industry. We look forward to examining legislative solutions to ensure better transparency and adherence to the goals Congress established for this program.”

Last week, the EPA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the RFS program. Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions.

In response to the announcement, the American Biogas Council said the EPA’s issuance of exemptions to oil refineries is more than any previous administration by a factor of 5-10, which has significantly depressed the value of RFS credits, known as RINs, according to the group. Patrick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council, argued that the Trump administration “simply cannot be trusted to properly administer the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

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