The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has welcomed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ‘overdue’ proposed renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes, but noted that the announcement is “marred” by retroactive reductions to 2020 volumes.
The NBB also welcomed the US Department of Agriculture’s announcement of COVID-19 relief for biofuel producers and funds for the Higher Blend Infrastructure Incentive Program.
The EPA’s proposal would increase 2022 advanced volumes and restore improperly waived volumes from previous years.
“During the past two years’ economic challenges, our industry worked hard to meet growing US demand for cleaner, better fuels,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president for federal affairs.
“We are confident that we can continue to grow and innovate to meet additional market needs. EPA’s rule provides some growth for advanced biofuels in 2022 and we hope puts an end to the demand destruction that resulted from unwarranted small refinery exemptions.
“We look forward to working with the agency to get the RFS back on track, and we greatly appreciate the economic relief and incentives for infrastructure that USDA is announcing.”
Kovarik went on to say the long delay in setting 2021 volumes is a “missed opportunity”, adding that the EPA is setting a “bad precedent” by recalculating the 2020 obligations.
“The retroactive lowering of volumes creates uncertainty about future growth,” he added.
In 2020, the US biodiesel and renewable diesel market grew to 3 billion gallons – its highest volume ever – and generated more than 4.5 billion advanced biofuel credits.
Through the first 10 months of this year, the industry maintained a sustainable production rate compared to 2020. The EPA is proposing sustainable growth opportunities consistent with industry expectations, along with a statutorily required increase of 500 million gallons in the overall advanced biofuel category.
Guidance on 2023 biomass-based diesel volumes, which was due under the statute on 30 November, is not being provided by the EPA.
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