U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Senator John Thune (R-SD) in early February requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act on languishing applications under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), including moving forward with allowing renewable electricity made from biomass to qualify if it is used to power electric vehicles. This would level the playing field among fuel sources, and enable anaerobic digesters producing electricity to generate and sell credits under the RFS program to refiners that must meet national renewable fuel targets. Dozens of new pathway petitions and registration requests have sat idle at EPA since 2016, while renewable electricity producers have been completely shut out from RFS participation since the inception of the current version of the program in 2007, according to the Renewable Power Coalition, which supports this legislation.
Under the bipartisan Shaheen-Thune bill, the EPA would be required to approve certain advanced biofuel registrations that have gone without approval by the agency, despite the fuels already being successfully used in at least one state. The EPA would also be required to render a decision within 90 days on any registration application that has been pending for at least 180 days, as well as take action within 180 days for completed pathways petitions pending for at least 180 days. In addition, the bill would provide $2 million for the EPA to carry out the functions of the bill.
“The American Biogas Council (ABC) deeply values the continued support of Senators Shaheen and Thune in requiring the EPA to address these outstanding biogas to electricity issues,” says Patrick Serfass, ABC’s Executive Director. “The RFS2 was passed by Congress and implemented in 2010. Since then, producers 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.” ABC is a member of the RFS Power Coalition.