A hearing is set to begin Tuesday morning to discuss how much biofuel will be blended into the nation's gasoline supply for the next two years.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says in a statement she is pleased the court rejected the EPA's methodology, "Supplying enough renewable fuels has not been a problem for our farmers and biofuels producers, and the EPA's use of "inadequate domestic supply" waiver authority created needless uncertainty for the industry".
At the hearing, RNG stakeholders advocated that EPA's cellulosic biofuel calculation methodology in the final rule account for both increased cellulosic biofuel generation from projects now producing fuel, and the projected production from 24 additional RNG projects nearing completion of construction that are planned to begin generating RIN credits under the RFS program later this year and throughout 2018. The next step is the comment period, which kicks off Tuesday morning and coincides with a hearing on the volume levels for 2018-and 2019. "Whether in a reset discussion or in setting biodiesel and ethanol levels, the EPA must act according to the clear directive from the court". Past RFS levels were highly disputed by renewable fuels groups, with RFS proponents claiming EPA's levels missed the mark.
The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Obama administration's EPA violated federal law when it considered market demand in setting the minimum ethanol blending levels set by Congress.
The court's opinion, written by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, stated that "whether consumers have an adequate supply of renewable fuel to fill their cars is not relevant to whether refiners, blenders and importers have an adequate supply of renewable fuel to meet the statutory volume requirements". The agency has said that it is still reviewing the decision.
Wiesemeyer says the agency will need to make up a 500 million gallon short-fall due to the numbers. It's still unknown if the EPA will appeal the case.