The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has extended until September 25, 2009, the comment period on its rulemaking proposing comprehensive amendments to its renewable fuel standards. The proposed regulations would dramatically alter and expand the regulatory framework governing the use of renewable fuels in the transportation sector. The draft regulations, known as Renewable Fuel Standards 2 (RFS 2), are being proposed to implement the changes mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
In addition to significantly increasing the minimum volume of renewable fuels that must be utilized in the transportation sector, the proposed regulations would establish varying requirements for newly established subcategories of renewable fuels, including cellulosic biofuels, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuels, and total renewable fuels. In perhaps the most controversial provision, the regulations would mandate reductions in lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production of renewable fuels, and would establish methodologies for calculating GHG emission impacts. We encourage you to review our May 27, 2009, Client Update, “US EPA Proposes New Regulations that will Shape the Future of the Renewable Fuels Industry for 2010 and Beyond,” for a review of the key provisions of the proposed rulemaking and its implications for the renewable fuels industry.
The RFS 2 rulemaking has garnered significant public attention, and extensive comments have been submitted by members of industry, academia, state and local government agencies, and environmental groups. US EPA held a public hearing on the proposed regulations on June 9, 2009, and conducted a two-day workshop on the details of its GHG lifecycle analysis on June 10-11, 2009. Audio transcripts of the GHG workshop are available on US EPA’s web site at www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/#notices.
The public comment period on the RFS 2 proposal was initially scheduled to end on July 26, 2009, 60 days after initial publication in the Federal Register. There were several requests to extend the comment period to allow for additional public input and, on June 30, 2009, US EPA issued a notice extending the comment period for an additional 60 days, until the new September 25, 2009, deadline. The notice states that further extensions of the comment period are not expected.
The extension provides an additional opportunity for interested parties to submit comments on this important rulemaking. Participants may wish to consider submitting comments to address issues that may be unique to the particular type of renewable fuel, process or feedstock source they are developing. Comments on the rulemaking can be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov/. The docket for the rulemaking is Docket I.D. No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005-0161. Alternatively, comments can be emailed to email@example.com, or mailed to Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington DC 20460. Finally, comments can be hand delivered during regular business hours to the EPA Docket Center, EPA West Building , Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington DC 20004. Materials considered confidential business information or which are otherwise restricted from disclosure should not be submitted through the http://www.regulations.gov/ web site or through email, and should be appropriately marked when submitted through other means.
For more information about the issues discussed in this Client Alert, or for information regarding renewable fuels project development, environmental and climate change matters please contact, Kevin G. Desharnais at +1 312 701 8079.