Farm Industry News Blog

EPA Finalizes Rule for Expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2)

The EPA has finalized a rule implementing the renewable fuels mandate of 36 billion gallons by 2022 that was established by Congress. According to the EPA, increasing renewable fuels will reduce dependence on oil by more than 328 million barrels a year and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions more than 138 million metric tons a year when fully phased in by 2022.

Some renewable fuels must achieve GHG emission reductions—compared to the gasoline and diesel fuels they displace—to be counted toward compliance with volume standards, EPA added.

Corn-based ethanol achieves a 21% GHG reduction compared to gasoline when “dubious ideas of international indirect land use change (ILUC) are included,” the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) states. Without ILUC, corn-based ethanol achieves a 52% GHG reduction, and cellulosic ethanol achieves a GHG reduction of 72-130 percent depending upon feedstock and conversion process. In a recent statement, the RFA said that the new RFS rules are “workable,” but that the ILUC is “problematic.”

The RFA also stated that the “EPA continues to rely on oft-challenged and unproven theories, such as international indirect land use change to penalize U.S. biofuels to the advantage of imported ethanol and petroleum.”

The RFA addresses Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, for example, in an Issue Brief, which is available at www.ethanolrfa.org. The organization adds, “despite the reliance on unproven science, the greenhouse gas benefits of all ethanol show tremendous improvements compared to gasoline.” All GHG reductions for ethanol exceed those mandated by RFS2, the RFA states.

In related news, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) reports that in 2010, 1.15 billion gallons of biodiesel will be required to be entered into commerce. EPA classifies biodiesel as an “advanced biofuel.”

“Biodiesel has the best energy balance and the best greenhouse gas reduction of any fuel that is currently in the commercial marketplace and is the only advanced biofuel that has reached commercialization in the U.S.,” says Joe Jobe, CEO, NBB.

Growers interested in learning more about requirements for feedstock producers and other details in the final EPA ruling, can read a fact sheet at www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/420f10007.pdf.

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Jodie Wehrspann, Kathy Huting, Lynn Grooms, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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