LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- If you're keeping score at home, the EPA was required by law to finalize volume obligations in the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2022 by Tuesday.
Stating the obvious: though it officially has until the end of the day, chances are slim EPA will make the deadline.
As we've reported, https://www.dtnpf.com/…, the EPA 12 days ago announced a proposal to delay RFS compliance deadlines for refiners. Keep in mind, the agency already is far behind on setting RFS volumes even for 2021.
During the past several months reports surfaced that the agency was going to also proposal retroactive cuts to the 2020 volumes that were finalized by the Trump administration.
As the RFS clock continues to tick, EPA also is bumping up against a statutory deadline to reset the law in 2022.
The Trump administration was ahead of the game on this front. In 2019 the Trump EPA sent a reset proposal to the Office of Management and Budget in May of that year for review. That proposal included volume obligations for 2020, as well as 2021 and 2022 RVOs for biomass-based diesel.
Of course, that reset proposal never saw the light of day.
On Nov. 18 the EPA released a proposal that would make multiple changes to RFS compliance deadlines. The agency has set a public hearing on the proposal for this Friday.
EPA proposes extending the RFS compliance deadline for 2020 and 2021 compliance years for "all obligated parties." In addition, the agency is proposing to change the annual compliance reporting deadlines for 2022 and beyond.
Keep in mind that on Nov. 2, 2021, Growth Energy provided a notice of intent to sue the EPA if RFS volumes are not finalized on time, https://www.dtnpf.com/….
So, there's little doubt that lawsuit will be forthcoming unless the group changes its mind.
In the backdrop of all of this, members of the House have offered legislation to prevent EPA from retroactively cutting RFS volumes for 2020.
If the agency releases an official proposal to do that, it would be first time in the history of the RFS.
Last week Reps. Ashley Hinson, Rodney Davis, Angie Craig and Ron Kind introduced the "Defend the Blend Act." The bill would, in fact, prohibit EPA from reducing the minimum applicable volume of biofuels into transportation fuel once volumes are set for any given year.
"Rumors abound that the EPA is going to retroactively reduce biofuel blending requirements for 2020 -- before they've even set levels for 2021 and 2022 -- this would be detrimental to Iowa's biofuel industry," Hinson said in a news release announcing the bill.
Davis said in a statement that a retroactive RFS cut "would be a disaster for farmers and the biofuels industry."
With key deadlines passed and little direction coming from the Biden administration, the biofuels industry waits.
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley
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