New legislation to take action on stalled bioenergy applications welcomed by industry

The RFS Power Coalition has announced its support for legislation introduced in the US that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on stalled Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) pathway petitions and applications submitted by biogas, biomass, and waste-to-energy power producers.

The RFS Power Coalition is led by the American Biogas Council (ABC), Biomass Power Association, and the Energy Recovery Council.

Dozens of new pathway petitions and registration requests have sat idle at the EPA since 2016, while renewable electricity producers have been ‘completely shut out’ from RFS participation since the inception of the current version of the programme in 2007, according to the coalition.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the legislation on 11 February. For them, this bill demonstrates their support for acknowledging the vital role biofuels play in providing renewable power for electric transportation. This bill is a step towards ensuring that small and mid-sized power producers rightfully receive credits for the clean power they supply for transport.

“I am proud to re-introduce this bill along with Senator Thune to tackle the backlog of advanced biofuel registrations, empowering producers to utilise the latest technology and research in fuel production,” said Senator Shaheen.

“I have long worked to level the playing field for our biomass producers to participate in the RFS, and I’ll continue to fight for investments that strengthen our energy industry to build a more sustainable future.”

Senator Thune added: “This bill will permit biofuel producers to capitalise on the research and facility investments they have made to bring this technology to scale, improve their operating margins, and further lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. This will strengthen the biofuel industry, which continues to provide an essential market for South Dakota farmers.”

The bill would require the EPA to make decisions within 90 days regarding registration applications that have been pending for more than 180 days as of 4 February 2021. Applications would be automatically approved if no decision is made within that 90-day window.

It would also require the EPA to approve registrations for certain biofuels that qualify for at least one state low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) programme, despite not yet being approved by the EPA.

“We greatly appreciate the support of Senator Thurne and Senator Shaheen in getting the EPA to process RFS applications and pathway petitions,” said Carrie Annand, executive director of the Biomass Power Association.

“For more than a decade, the biomass power industry has been waiting to participate in the RFS. Our members deserve credit for supplying carbon beneficial power for electric transportation, and the consistent support of these Senators will be instrumental in making this happen.”

Patrick Serfass, executive director of the ABC, added: “The ABC deeply values the continued support of Senators Shaheen and Thune in requiring the EPA to address these outstanding biogas-to-electricity issues.

“The RFS2 was passed by Congress and implemented in 2010. Since then, producers who are making biogas-to-electricity have been discriminated against by the EPA. Many of these projects are on small family farms and could greatly benefit from the additional support that participation in the RFS would bring.

“We urge the EPA to move forward on these pathways which will enable carbon-negative fuels to power clean electric vehicles.”


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