An Entertaining 101 on Issues Impacting the Renewable Fuel Standard

Lawsuits in the Fall: EPA Subject to Lawsuit Brought by Center for Biological Diversity

September 11, 2023

September in Iowa is just starting to feel a bit like fall. I am so ready for comfy socks, oversized sweatshirts, pumpkin spice, and the feeling of impending lawsuits…wait, what? EPA has recently “fallen” subject to many lawsuits filed by many different entities from several different market positions, but this post is going to focus on the one between EPA and the Center for Biological Diversity. Recently, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed suit against EPA for the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) as part the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) “Set” rule released this past June. More specifically, CBD is... Read More →

Small Refineries and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day(s): EPA Denies 26 Small Refinery Exemptions; D.C. Circuit Court Dismisses Cases Challenging EPA’s Compliance Schedule

August 8, 2023

I think there needs to be a book like “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” but for adults. Maybe, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Adulting,” complete with an accurate description of the 40-hour work week, taxes, and what paying student loans feels like. Given recent events, small refineries might be able to relate to either book. Within the past month, EPA has made a couple of decisions that have gained a fair amount of attention. First, EPA denied 26 Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) petitions between the years 2016-2018 and 2021-2023. Second, the... Read More →

The Grand Finale: EPA Releases Final “Set” Rule

July 11, 2023

The thing that everyone has been talking about for the past few months has finally happened. *Cue the drumroll please* EPA released the final “Set” rule. Boasting nearly 500 pages, the final “Set” rule included several provisions, such as: the formal withdrawal of eRINs from the final rule, new Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2023-2025, EPA setting a precedent for releasing RVOs every three years, an amendment to the separated food waste record-keeping rule, biogas reform rules, and many other provisions. Don’t worry, I read all 468 pages so that you don’t have to experience the absolute joy of reading... Read More →

Changing Its Mind: EPA to Withdraw eRINs from Final “Set” Rule

June 14, 2023

Have you ever done something and then, upon introspection, changed your mind? Committed to going out on a Friday night when you really wanted to stay in with your fuzzy slippers, security blanket, and a TV series that you’ve seen 100 times, perhaps? EPA might know a little about this with the recent chatter about it withdrawing its proposed eRIN program as part of the upcoming “Set” rule. Last December, EPA published a massive “Set” proposal, which included provisions for eRINs. Under the proposed “Set” rule, eRINs would be rolled into the existing regulations within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).... Read More →

A Fishy Situation: SCOTUS to Overturn Chevron v. NRDC

May 9, 2023

You would think, by now, that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) would be used to handling “fishy” situations. Afterall, the most senior court in the all the land casts a pretty wide jurisdictional “net.” In a current case before SCOTUS, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, (Loper), a commercial fishing company challenges the federal agency responsible for the stewardships of marine resources. How could a commercial fishing company possibly have anything to do with the Renewable Fuel Standard? Since I’ve baited the hook so well, Loper directly challenges the precedent set in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council... Read More →

Falling Down and Getting Up: The Next Generation Fuels Act Reintroduced in Congress

April 12, 2023

Growing up as a competitive figure skater taught me valuable life lessons that I have taken with me into adulthood. For example, don’t open your eyes when your mom is spraying hairspray, remember to drink your water, and most importantly, if you fall, get back up and try again. Trying again is a good way to phrase the recent reintroduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act into Congress Oh neat, Congress is doing something and tagging on to the Clean Air Act. Actually, the proposed pieces of legislation are a little bit heftier than that. The body of legislation aims... Read More →

She Blinded Me With Science! EPA Releases Third Triennial Report on RFS

March 14, 2023

Why can’t you trust an atom? Because they make up everything! …I bet I’m the only one here that appreciates a good science joke…Did you know that there are times when science and policy collide within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)? Like nuclear fission, this collision of science and policy has the potential to energize the RFS, moving it forward. How does it do that? By the release of the “Biofuels and the Environment Third Triennial Report to Congress (the “Report”). Under the Energy and Independence Security Act (EISA), EPA is required to report on the effects the RFS has... Read More →

As Disappointing as a Millennial: EPA’s Denials of SREs Stayed by 5th Circuit Decision

February 1, 2023

Being the resident millennial has its challenges and disappointments. For example, no one, not even one person, has offered me a participation trophy just for showing up to work. My parents say that’s what a salary is, but that’s not the same thing. Given recent events, perhaps no one understands being challenged and disappointed quite like EPA. To be more specific, recently, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a few of EPA’s denials of Small Refiner Exemptions (SREs) are stayed. The facts of the case are fairly straight forward. Calumet Shreveport Refining LLC (“Calumet”) and the San Antonio... Read More →

It’s Electric! EPA Proposes eRIN Regulations in 2023-2025 Set Rule

January 9, 2023

Charging the conversation around the 2023-2025 Set rule is EPA’s proposal on the development and implementation of the eRIN program. While not new, this proposal is really the first time EPA has addressed the eRIN program since 2014 and it’s outlining a new approach within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), including the makeup of participants. As early as 2010, EPA determined that renewable electricity would meet the definition of renewable fuel and therefore, be eligible to generate RINs, so long as the renewable electricity is made from renewable biomass and is used as a transportation fuel[1]. However, until now, EPA... Read More →

The 12 Rules of Christmas: EPA Publishes Proposed 2023-2025 Set Rule

December 14, 2022

“On the first day of Christmas EPA proposed to me…a 692-page rule” Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it? If you’ve been paying attention to the transportation fuels industry, you know that EPA just released the “Set” rule for 2023 and beyond. This was a monstrous release, boasting 692 pages of pure regulatory and scientific language. It was a real page-turner. The release is significant because 2023 is the first year the statute did not set mandatory targets for the transportation fuels industry. This means, under statute, EPA is now permitted to promulgate all future Renewable Volume... Read More →