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RFS levels sent to OMB for final review

EPA on track to meet statutory Nov. 30 deadline for volume obligations for 2017.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s final standards for 2017 and biomass-based diesel volume for 2018 for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) moved to the last review step. EPA has sent the final standards to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for interagency review, which includes addressing input from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

EPA proposed in May to require that 18.8 billion gal. of biofuels be blended into the fuel supply in 2017, and up to 14.8 billion gal. of that can be corn-based ethanol.

The proposed level was higher than the expected ethanol production volume for 2016 but still lower than the amount  Congress asked EPA to set when it wrote the RFS in 2007. The agency used a waiver provision written into the law to propose the level.

EPA spokesman Nick Conger confirmed that the biofuel mandate was sent to OMB for review and said the agency plans on meeting the Nov. 30 deadline.

In the coming days and weeks, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said it will coordinate meetings of NBB staff with members of the Renewable Volume Obligations Working Group and the Administration to again press its case for stronger biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel volumes. After the OMB review, EPA will finalize the standards and release them publicly.

The EPA proposal calls for increasing the biomass-based diesel volume from 2 billion gal. in 2017 to 2.1 billion gal. in 2018. Additionally, it calls for increasing the overall advanced biofuel volume — previously set at 3.61 billion gal. for 2016 — to 4 billion gal. in 2017, well below the statutorily required volume of 9 billion gal. The American Soybean Assn. and NBB have made the case to revise the volumes upward to at least 2.5 billion gal. for biomass-based diesel for 2018 and 4.75 billion gal. for overall advanced biofuels for 2017.

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