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EPA Head Addresses RFS2 Cuts

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt appeared to allay biofuel industry concerns late Thursday regarding a possible push for further cuts to the 2018 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2).

In a letter addressed to seven US Senators, Pruitt stated that according to a preliminary analysis undertaken by the EPA, the final 2018 RVOs should not be set below the proposed levels introduced in July. Under the EPA’s proposal, 19.24 bn gal of biofuels would be available for blending into the nation’s fuel supply in 2018, a 400 mn drop from 2017 levels. Additionally, Pruitt claimed that according to the same preliminary analysis, the 2018 and 2019 final RVO for biomass-based diesel (BBD) would likely be set equal to or higher than the proposed 2.1 bn gal.

However, in his letter Pruitt made no mention of the possible use of general, cellulosic, or BBD waivers to cut the RVOs, a proposal floated in last months’ Notice of Data Availability (NODA). In this instance, even if the EPA were to set the 2018 RVOs at levels equal to or greater than those publicized in July, a future waiver could trim back renewable volumes to a level that is actually lower than the final amounts.

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