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BIO Submits Comments on Proposed 2017 Renewable Fuel Standards

July 11, 2016

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), on behalf of its member companies, today submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017, and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2018. The comments demonstrate that EPA’s interpretation of statutory waiver authority is flawed and its proposed volumes of renewable fuel available for the program are too low and should be revised upward.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, states in the comments, “BIO urges EPA to get the RFS back on track with a commitment to stable implementation of the program that tracks statutory requirements.”

The comments continue, “BIO and its members, and other market participants, have now experienced over two-and-a-half years of regulatory uncertainty, confusion, and lost opportunities attributable to EPA’s departure (first proposed by EPA in late 2013, and implemented by EPA in late 2015) from the basic purposes and requirements of the RFS statute. The 2014 RFS Proposal and ensuing EPA actions have undermined the basic goals of the RFS and have chilled investment in the biofuels industry – particularly in the development of advanced and cellulosic biofuels, which are required by statute to result in lower greenhouse gas emissions. The results have been to impede the development of a domestic sustainable alternative to petroleum and to increase greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on foreign sources of oil in the transportation fuel sector.”

“Among other things, the RFS program has been seriously impeded by EPA’s unwarranted and unlawful expansion of its general waiver authority in setting annual Renewable Volume Obligations under the RFS statute,” Erickson continues. “EPA’s approach to setting biofuel volumes violates the law and has undermined certainty and predictability for investors and other market participants, with negative environmental and economic consequences that run contrary to Congress’s purposes in enacting the statute. As we stated last year, EPA has broken the promise of the RFS on which biofuels producers and other market participants relied when making investment decisions.”

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