Answers to your questions about the Renewable Fuel Standard: Your guide to the comments received by EPA

February 4, 2014 |

RFS2-cutsSo the comment period is over and the analysis begins. More than 15,000 comments were received by EPA.

What is the problem that led to a waiver petition? Why does EPA propose to act and how, and when, and in what way?

Today, in the Digest, we look in detail at the comments submitted by players across the spectrum to get you the answers.

Late to the RFS laugh-fest? Here’s a background primer.

Here’s a pretty good overview Q&A on the EPA’s proposal, from Third Way.

The Situation

As RFA sums it up: “EPA proposes to reduce the volume of total renewable fuel under the 2014 RVO from the statutory level of 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons. The proposed reductions include cuts to the statutory requirements for cellulosic biofuel and advanced biofuel, as well as a decrease to the requirement for unspecified renewable fuel (i.e., the portion of the RVO for which corn starch ethanol may qualify) from 14.4 billion gallons to 13.01 billion gallons. In attempting to justify the proposed volume reductions, EPA describes what it views as “two important realities.”

“1 First, the Agency cites perceived “[l]imitations in the volume of ethanol that can be consumed in gasoline…, a set of factors commonly referred to as the ‘blendwall.’”

“2 Second, EPA points to “[l]imitations in the ability of the industry to produce sufficient volumes of qualifying renewable fuel.” But, even assuming that consumption is the relevant standard in granting a waiver (it is not), these two “realities” are pure fiction.”

BTW, all the EPA comments that are online, are here. (Think in “thousands of pages”, if you’re budgeting your reading time.)

The Stakes

BIO notes: “To date, these companies have invested more than $5.79 billion in private capital here in the United States in building the advanced and cellulosic biofuels industry19. This investment has been matched with $2.1 billion in federal or state grants and loans. As a result, 28 out of 50 states have at least one existing or planned biorefinery, totaling 77 facilities across the country. This includes the five cellulosic biofuel facilities EPA projects to produce commercial gallons of cellulosic biofuels in 2014 and an increasing number of renewable chemical facilities.”

The Blend Wall Issue

As Shell notes in its comments:

1. The amount of gasoline and diesel fuel that refiners and importers can legally produce or import for U.S. consumption is limited by their ability to meet the RVOs that are incurred by supplying such fuel.

2. Refiners and importers comply with the RVOs by acquiring the required number of RINs as determined by the annual Renewable Fuel Standards and the amount of gasoline and diesel that they supply for U.S. consumption. This is each obligated party’s individual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO).

3. The number of RINs available for compliance depends on consumption of renewable fuels in the U.S. transportation system (not the production of biofuels).

4. Therefore, the supply of gasoline and diesel fuel for U.S. consumption is limited by the consumption of renewable fuels in U.S. transportation fuels. This can be described by the following simple equation derived from the law and EPA’s regulations: How much gasoline and diesel can be supplied for U.S. consumption = the amount of renewable fuels consumed divided by the annual RFS standard.

5. As the RFS2 mandates exceed the ability of the U.S. transportation system to consume the renewable fuel (due to vehicle and retail infrastructure compatibility issues), RINs will be in short supply, which to maintain compliance with the law, will in turn limit supplies of gasoline and diesel for U.S. consumption.

6. Neither consumption of E85, E15, or biodiesel will provide the needed RINs in this time frame – the blendwall is here now. This is discussed extensively in the Waiver Petition.

7. RIN deficit rollover is not a solution. Whenever a deficit is carried forward, the obligated party is required to clear the deficit and fully meet the RVO in the second year. This is an unsustainable solution as the RFS mandates continue to escalate.

8. Knowingly violating the Clean Air Act is not an option. The adverse impacts of the blendwall problem will be the result of obligated parties taking action to remain in compliance with a law that becomes infeasible when mandates exceed the blendwall.”

Is there a blend wall…at all?

As ACORE notes in its comments: “1) USEPA is invoking the “blend wall” contrary to statute to determine there is insufficient supply of domestic renewable fuels; (2) the “blend wall” is the result of the USEPA’s reliance on assumptive equations based on false variables due to outdated research; (3) USEPA has sustained this “blend wall” by failing in its legal mandate to enforce existing statutes 202(I) and 211(c) of the CAA, as well as the regulatory regime established under 211(f)(1)(A); (4) USEPA can and should take concrete steps to fulfill its statutory mandates under the CAA, which will eliminate the “blend wall;” and (5) USEPA should revise its 2014 RVO to the statutory mandate of 18.15 billion gallons of total renewable fuel as directed in the Energy Security and Independence Act (EISA) of 2007.

BIO adds: “In finalizing the 2013 RFS20, EPA determined that biofuel producers were capable of supplying 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuel to the nation’s fuel supply. Despite continued rapid deployment of conventional and advanced biofuels since issuance of the 2013 final rule, the Agency’s 2014 proposal reduces the total renewable fuel requirement down to 15.21 billion gallons. Instead of encouraging the obligated parties – who have control of fuel distribution – to invest in the infrastructure to offer more options to consumers to use biofuels, this proposed rule validates the mythical “blend wall.”

Why is EPA dumping harder on emission-friendly, non-food advanced biofuels?

ABFA writes: “EPA’s proposed RFS cuts fall disproportionately on advanced biofuels and fails to maximize the energy security and GHG benefits as intended by the statute. EPA is proposing to cut the volume requirements for advanced biofuels by more than 40% when compared to the requirements
written into the RFS statute. In contrast, EPA is proposing a less than 10% reduction to volume requirements for conventional renewable fuels.”

“Congress wrote statutory targets into law and provided waiver authority for flexibility. EPA does not have the discretion to model their target RVOs. Specifically, we believe that since Congress provided a specific mandated schedule of volumes for not only 2014 but each year through 2022, that the use of this model, or any statistical model for the matter, to adjust those numbers may be construed as an arbitrary and capricious attempt to establish applicable volumes for any given year. EPA’s own lowball estimate presented in Option 1 predicts up to 3.23 billion gallons of advanced biofuel will be available next year.

NBB adds: “The limitations on infrastructure identified by EPA that it is purported to address in the proposal only relate to ethanol use in the gasoline sector. “EISA expanded the program to cover ‘transportation fuel’, not just gasoline.” 75 Fed. Reg. 14,670, 14,682 (Mar. 26, 2010). The biomass‐based diesel portion of the program is unaffected by the purported limitations on use of ethanol in gasoline or in a claimed reduction in gasoline use.”

Why is getting the EPA to bend important?

As API and AFPM note: “EPA should continue to use their waiver authority, as proposed in 2014, to reduce the statutory volumes in recognition of the blendwall. EPA should meet the statutory requirement to use EIA data from October 31 and to issue annual standards by November 30 prior to each compliance year. Once the statutory waiver triggers (50% in a single year, 20% in two consecutive years) have been reached, EPA should take a comprehensive approach toward resetting the all renewable standards tables.”

Other changes requested by the oil industry.

AFPM and API request: “Regarding EPA’s proposed new framework for setting annual standards based on Monte Carlo simulations, we identified several shortcomings in the analysis. For example, the forecast of cellulosic biofuel production for 2014 is overly optimistic. We recommend that EPA set the cellulosic standard as an annualized volume based on the most recent three months of cellulosic production. EPA should address these issues before finalizing this methodology.

AFPM and API support EPA’s proposal to grant their petitions for reconsideration, rescind the 2011 cellulosic biofuel mandate, and refund the money paid by obligated parties to purchase cellulosic waiver credits.”

How did the blend wall idea get started?

ACORE says: “The origin of this artificial “blend wall” is USEPA’s reliance on a study completed in 1992—15 years before the RFS was created and now over 20 years old, which falsely concluded that ethanol increases the emissions of pollutants in vehicles. More recent studies conducted by other entities have reached the opposite conclusion: blending renewable fuel into gasoline reduces the emissions of harmful pollutants below that of other fuel additives. Yet, under CAA Section 211(c)(1)(A), USEPA is not permitted to use studies that have not been funded, overseen or conducted by USEPA in their governing processes. It is time for USEPA to conduct an updated study on the role ethanol can play in reducing harmful emissions from vehicles.”

Why didn’t Congress anticipate the blend wall problem – in aiming the US at 20% renewable fuels usage, if the blend wall strikes at 10%?

ACORE notes: “Congress, USEPA and the regulated community knew that the RFS would eventually require ethanol to be blended with gasoline at levels greater than 10 percent. The analysis that accompanied USEPA’s proposed rule for the 2013 RFS2 stated, “…under the proposed RFS2 program, we are projected to hit the E10 ‘blend wall’ of about 14-15 billion gallons by 2013.”31 Yet, USEPA has done nothing to address the forecasted “blend wall” that is preventing full implementation of the RFS as mandated in EISA. This inaction is despite the fact that USEPA is statutorily required to reduce harmful motor vehicle emissions and fulfilling this statutory requirement would eliminate the “blend wall.” ”

So, why is the blend wall such a third rail for EPA? Fear of pain at the pump?

ACORE says: “USEPA’s proposed reductions in biofuel targets are motivated by a view that the “blend wall” and increased Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices drive-up consumer gasoline prices, but this is not the case. There are good options for moving beyond E10, such as E85 and drop-in biofuels. RINs are the essential mechanism to enable these fuels to grow in the market. It has always been known and expected that RINS prices would rise. Contrary from being a negative, rising RIN prices are a positive sign of growing market demand and is an essential market signal for investment. Absent rising RIN prices, there will be no market growth. In other words, rising RIN prices are evidence the RFS is working as it should to incentivize the development of a mature and diverse biofuel industry. The proposed 2014 RVO levels corresponding to E10 will actually cause RIN prices to collapse and would remove the enabling mechanism for E85 and drop-in biofuels growth.

Flawed thinking on consequences?

Growth Energy says: “Petitioners’ waiver request rests on a demonstrably flawed analysis by NERA Economic Consulting. NERA’s 2012 analysis assumes that fuel producers will dramatically curtail sales of diesel and gasoline, causing a purported $770 billion decline in GDP in 2015, rather than make the relatively modest investments, if any, needed to bring E85, E15, and biodiesel to market in quantities sufficient to meet their RFS obligations. The analysis depends on the false premise that the supply and demand of E85, E15, and biodiesel are wholly unresponsive to the price of fuel and the price of Renewable Identification Numbers (“RINs”).

“The analysis depends on the false premise that the supply and demand of E85, E15, and biodiesel are wholly unresponsive to the price of fuel and the price of Renewable Identification Numbers (“RINs”). NERA’s analysis incorrectly assumes an arbitrary limit on the use of E85 that is unrelated to RIN prices, incorrectly assumes that no E15 will be brought to market at all, and incorrectly assumes that the amount of feedstock directed to biodiesel is unresponsive to price. NERA’s conclusions, moreover, have already been proven wrong: NERA’s predictions for RIN prices, fuel supply, and surplus RINs in 2012 and 2013 were all incorrect—in the case of RIN prices by an order of magnitude or more. NERA’s analysis also entirely disregards the prospect that EPA may reduce the overall 2014 renewable fuels volumes, in whole or in part, in light of limitations on the supply of cellulosic fuels.”

Can EPA Act…and should it?

AFPM and API state: “EPA is proposing to reduce the 2014 statutory volumes of advanced and total renewable fuel using a combination of the Agency’s authority under two separate provisions – the cellulosic waiver provision and the general waiver provision. EPA’s exercise of these waiver authorities is consistent with the plain language of the law and is entirely reasonable. EPA can waive the RFS mandates, under Section 211(o)(7) of the Clean Air Act, in whole or in part, where there would be either: (1) an inadequate domestic supply; or (2) severe adverse consequences to the economy of a state, a region or the United States. As the AFPM/API waiver petition demonstrates, the inadequate supply and severe economic consequences projected to occur in 2014 independently establish both grounds for a waiver.”

But the National Biodiesel Board says: “Although EPA purports to use its waiver authority to depart from the statutory volume of 3.75 billion gallons for advanced biofuels, its proposed approach, which attempts to estimate actual production, does not ensure the statutory volumes are met. In particular, the D.C. Circuit rejected attempts by the obligated parties to argue that EPA has to project actual production of advanced biofuels.

“Particularly noteworthy is the D.C. Circuit’s conclusion that, “in sharp distinction with cellulosic biofuel, there appears to be no great obstacle to the production of advanced biofuel generally; to the extent that estimates in the record are relatively low, that seems to be based on want of a market, which of course continued pressure will tend to solve.” Id. (citing 77 Fed. Reg. 1320, 1334‐1335 (Jan. 9, 2012)) (emphasis added). As the D.C. Circuit recognized, “continued pressure” on obligated parties “will tend to solve” any purported “want of a market” for advanced biofuel. Id. There is “no great obstacle” to the production of advanced biofuel generally, or biodiesel specifically. Id. Rather, there is sufficient and increasing domestic supply. Yet EPA is now proposing to essentially ignore the statutory structure established by Congress and set the volume on the expected consumer market for biofuels.”

BIO adds: “In EPA’s August 2012 “Notice of Decision Regarding Requests for a Waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard”36 (the “2012 RFS Waiver Decision”), EPA found that Congress intended its general waiver authority to be interpreted narrowly based on the plain meaning of the text on its face without reading into it or enhancing it based on additional language or words used in other parts of the CAA, including other parts of the RFS.

“In explaining this conclusion, EPA noted that it had considered “numerous examples in section 211 and other sections of the Clean Air Act where Congress authorized EPA action based on the contribution made by a factor or activity and worded the statute to clearly indicate this intention.”

“Following its own guidance, EPA should determine that “inadequate domestic supply” refers to the adequacy of the supply of neat renewable fuel to obligated parties, not “ultimate consumers.”

EPA changes view

NBB states: “As EPA found, increasing the biomass‐based diesel requirement would make “it more likely that we will not need to modify the advanced biofuel mandate . . . and, therefore, that the Congressional goal for advanced biofuel use . . . can either be satisfied, or at least come closer to satisfaction.” 76 Fed. Reg. 38,844, 38,874 (July 1, 2011); see also 77 Fed. Reg. 59,458, 59,483 (Sept. 27, 2012) (“Thus by establishing an applicable volume for biomass‐based diesel in 2013 that exceeds the minimum of 1.0 billion gal, we are helping to establish the industry as a substantial contributor to the required volumes of advanced biofuel anticipated after full implementation of the RFS program.”); id. at 59,462 (increasing biomass‐based diesel standard “will provide more certainty that the applicable volume of advanced biofuel set forth in the statute will not need to be reduced”).

“Indeed, EPA found that “if we did not increase the biodiesel requirement, the biodiesel industry would wait before retooling to see if enough sugarcane ethanol was imported to fill the gap. In that case, the advanced standard might not be met. If the advanced standard were not met, there would be less GHG emissions reductions benefits, since fewer gallons achieving the 50% reduction would be used.” EPA, Response to Petitions of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) for Reconsideration of the September 27, 2012 Final Rule entitled Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: 2013 Biomass‐Based Diesel Renewable Fuel Volume, at 22 (Aug. 2013)

Is EPA itself to blame?

ABFA writes: “By the EPA’s own admission, there are 33 outstanding pending pathways for advanced and cellulosic technologies and feedstocks that further thwart and underestimate the industry’s actual ability to produce gallons in 2014.5 The proposed reduction in the advanced pool to 2.21 billion gallons from 2013′s target of 2.75 billion is a volume which was exceeded almost entirely by the biomass-based diesel pool alone according to EPA’s EMTS system as of Jan. 28th, 2014. These issues point strongly towards a massive underestimation of volumes for 2014, resulting in negative impacts to the advanced sector.

Could California help?

“The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in California provides an additional driver for biomass based diesel that EPA does not consider when weighing production without the tax credit. As with Brazilian ethanol discussed below, LCFS incentivizes the production or importation of high performing, low GHG fuels.”

Is EPA gaming the numbers?

The Advanced Biofuels Association noted that, in commenting on the EPA proposed volumes, the Officie of Management & Budget said “Not sure that the Monte Carlo is the best way to get the numbers we are looking for.”

ABFA adds: “We are concerned the Monte Carlo Model was created and adopted as a means to arrive at a set of numbers well below those mandated in the statute, in direct contravention of the statute and in a manner not appropriate for this rule making. OMB’s comments also reveal the motivation in bringing about this departure from prior rulemakings and from EPA’s steadfast support of the advanced and cellulosic biofuels industry.

“Throughout the early drafts of this proposed rule and its supplemental comments, OMB clearly believes that high RIN prices are an economic hazard. Speaking further on EPA’s choice of a Monte Carlo model, OMB explains why it believes the right methodology must consistently err on the side of underestimating the actual availability of biofuels each year.”

What happens if EPA determines there is inadequate supply of renewable fuels?

RFA says “Even beyond the factual inaccuracies that plague EPA’s proposal, there is a fundamental legal infirmity as well: The Clean Air Act does not permit the Agency to take into account “factors that affect consumption” in determining whether to grant a general waiver based on an “inadequate domestic supply” of renewable fuel. Instead, EPA may grant a waiver based on an “inadequate domestic supply” of “renewable fuel” only where it finds that the renewable fuel industry lacks the capability to produce the required volumes of renewable fuel, and where there are insufficient carryover RINs available for obligated parties to meet the statutory RVO. The Agency has not made that showing here.”

The EPA redefines “supply” to include “infrastructure” as well as “fuel”

ACORE says: “USEPA has proposed reducing the 2014 RVO requirements due to an “inadequate domestic supply;” however, there is sufficient supply of renewable fuel to meet these requirements. USEPA is not defining “supply” as the volume of renewable fuel produced but as the volume of renewable fuel that can be consumed, namely the “…availability of qualifying renewable fuels and factors that in some cases limit supplying those fuels to the vehicles and equipment that can consume them, including the factors referred to as the ethanol ‘blend wall.’” This is a misinterpretation of Congress’ intended definition of “supply.”

AFPM and API disagree: “EPA proposes to reduce the advanced and general renewable categories on the basis of “inadequate domestic supply.” EPA explains that that renewable fuel is “best understood in terms of the person or place using the product.” EPA correctly points out that the vast majority of renewable fuel is not consumed as neat fuel, but instead, it is blended downstream of production. Various renewable fuel products exist, but ethanol-blended gasoline and to a far lesser extent, biomass-based diesel blended into conventional diesel, are predominantly used for compliance. Thus, the reference to “inadequate domestic supply” in the general waiver provision must be read with respect to the prime objective of the RFS program: the renewable fuel content of transportation fuel.

Supply: meaning “to obligated parties”, or “to the end consumer”?

BIO concludes: “Congress designed the RFS to increase the development and commercial production and use of renewable fuels, and directed the Agency to obligate certain parties to use the renewable fuels in order to incentivize this production, for ultimate use by the consumer. Those obligated parties are narrowly drawn and plainly do not include the ultimate consumer. Instead, under the RFS, Congress intended for obligated parties, including refiners and importers of transportation fuel, to be the ones required to use/blend the neat transportation fuel volumes set in the law for ultimate use by consumers. Therefore, EPA should conclude that the adequacy of the supply of neat renewable fuels must be measured in terms of the adequacy of volumes of those fuels to the parties who are obligated under the law to comply with these requirements.”

The danger in EPA’s interpretation of “supply”

BIO warns: “It rewards obligated parties for the failure to prepare for compliance and eviscerates the program’s ability to drive adoption of the next generation of biofuels. The proposal signals to the developers of advanced and cellulosic biofuels that there is no reliable expectation of a market for these fuels, and to their investors that there is little assurance of a return on investment.”

RFA adds: “In the end, the RFS program was designed to force the oil industry to change the status quo—not to perpetuate it. The entire purpose of this program would be subverted if the oil industry is rewarded for its failure to take the steps necessary to ensure that it was capable of distributing, blending, and dispensing the renewable fuel volumes required under the statute.”

Growth Energy states: “Under Petitioners’ view, the RFS program serves no purpose at all. If the petroleum industry declines to meet the goals that Congress set, under Petitioners’ view, EPA must simply lower those goals. But that is not what the law provides or what Congress intended. Rather, the program is intended to create incentives for industry to market additional quantities of renewable fuels. Granting Petitioners’ waiver request would simply remove those incentives.”

Are there alternatives to reducing the volumes?

NBB opines: “Through basic arithmetic, the higher EPA sets the biomass‐based diesel standard the less ethanol it can expect to be drawn into the gasoline pool. Conversely, the lower the Agency sets the biomass based diesel standard then the more ethanol (including more sugarcane ethanol, which is a significant source of advanced biofuel) can be expected to come into the Nation’s gasoline pool to, as EPA alleges, contribute to the blend wall. EPA, however, is choosing to use its waiver authority to give it flexibility to address a blend wall that has specifically been provided by Congress in giving EPA a tool to increase the biomass‐based diesel program after 2012.”

A lack of biomass-based diesel supply?

NBB says: “EPA reported a record monthly production of biomass‐based diesel of over 210 million gallons (over 321 million RINs) in December of 2013.2 Even at 210 million gallons per month, which equates to more than 2.5 billion gallons of biomass‐based diesel annualized, the industry is not running at capacity. EPA has registered more than 3.1 billion gallons of domestic biodiesel and renewable diesel production capacity. Clearly, the biomass‐based diesel industry has demonstrated that it is ready to meet both current and future requirements. The biomass based diesel requirements also have allowed the advanced biofuel statutory volume to be met, representing over 80% of the advanced biofuel program each year since 2010 and almost 99% of the 2.75 billion gallons required for 2013.3…NBB believes EPA has authority to set a volume of at least 1.7 billion gallons of biomass‐based diesel for 2014 and at least 2.1 billion gallons for 2015.

Can EPA change the biomass-based diesel standard before 2016?

API and AFPM note: “EPA is correct at setting the biomass-based diesel standard at 1.28 billion gallons for 2014 and 2015, because the RFS statute prevents EPA from increasing this standard prior to 2016.”

The immediate impact of the EPA proposal

ACORE notes: “The sensitivity of the entire supply chain of the biofuel sector to USEPA’s proposed RVO levels cannot be overestimated. A Reuter’s story by Michael Hirtzer this past summer reported that Steve Wall of Protec Fuel was in negotiation to build or retrofit E85 pumps at 450 fuel stations.4 The sale was canceled due to news of USEPA’s proposed RVO levels that significantly reduce biofuel targets. Why would oil refiners purchase ethanol blender pumps when USEPA has sent a clear message that there is no need to blend higher amounts of ethanol into gasoline? Why would automakers continue to produce Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) when USEPA has signaled there will be no E15, E30 or E85 to fill these cars?”

Had EPA not acted

RFA says: “Had the Agency proposed keeping in place the RVO for renewable fuel at the statutory level of 14.4 billion gallons, the RFS program’s Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market mechanism would have continued to function exactly as intended to ensure that required volumes of renewable fuels are produced and consumed. But by proposing an RVO for renewable fuel that is below the “blend wall,” the proposed rule completely eviscerates the RIN market. In this way, the most significant factor contributing to the so-called “blend wall” in 2014 is EPA’s proposal itself. The baffling approach to establishing annual RVOs set forth by EPA results in a circuitous, self-fulfilling prophecy that ultimately defeats the purpose of the RFS. In essence, EPA’s proposal seeks to make the alternative method of complying with RFS requirements (i.e., purchasing and turning in banked RINs) less costly for obligated parties than the intended primary method of compliance (i.e., purchasing and blending actual volumes of renewable fuels). Plainly, this is a backward approach to complying with the RFS that belies Congress’s intent. Restoring the efficacy of the RIN mechanism by setting the RVO at 14.4 billion gallons would break this vicious circle and ensure the goals of the RFS are met.”

Catch-22

ACORE writes: “The negative impact of the “blend wall” on the use of renewable fuels is further aggravated by the current regulatory framework under section 211(f)(1)(A), which states the fuel necessary for the next generation of motor vehicles cannot be introduced into the market until it is approved as a certification fuel, but such fuels cannot be approved as certification fuels until they have been introduced into the market.11 USEPA’s statutory misinterpretation creates a Catch-22 for the renewable biofuels industry, preventing the entrance of new fuels into the market.

Fueling the Future

As the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel comment: “We see your support as an investment in our future. As scientists, we can contribute to the sustainable growth of biodiesel and make it an even more valuable product for the nation’s fuel supply. Cutting the RFS will weaken our career prospects by introducing undue risk into the biodiesel industry.

Why do we strongly support renewables? Among other reasons, the process of petroleum and natural gas extraction entails drilling far into the ground, using a number of undisclosed chemicals and questionable methods, all the while hoping that the chemicals will not contaminate groundwater and endanger the public. In contrast, biofuels facilities are installed close to their feedstock sources; directly contribute to the growth of the local economies in which they exist; and operate with a much higher degree of environmental safety and responsibility.

The RFS has been a highly successful piece of legislation thus far and we hope that you will allow it to continue to function as such moving into the future,” the comments concluded. “Our greatest hope is that the United States will remain the top producer of biofuels among any country, consistent with our tradition of excellence, creating opportunities for youth, and leading the world by example.

Where is this all going?

ABFA contends: “This most likely will wind up in federal court further leaving the country and the advanced and cellulosic industry in suspended animation concerning the overall direction of the RFS. This lack of clarity and uncertainty will stifle the ability of many smaller companies from being able to acquire financing to build out the advanced biofuel sector envisioned in the 2007 law.”

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