EPA extends RFS-2 comment period, NBB expresses concern, encourages comment

By Susanne Retka Schill | June 09, 2009
Posted July 2, 2009

While the U.S. EPA officially extended the comment period on its proposed rule for the revised Renewable Fuels Standard, the National Biodiesel Board fears the hardship that may fall on the biodiesel industry if the implementation of the new standard is delayed.

The EPA announced July 2 that it extending the comment period by 60 days on the proposed rule. The original comment period was to eng July 27, and will now end Sept. 26. The agency said it seeks to provide the public adequate time to provide meaningful comment while still finalizing and implementing the standards in a timely manner.

"Everyone agrees with the need for a thorough public review of the EPA's proposed RFS-2 rule and a comment period of sufficient duration to accommodate public input, There are clearly ways to improve the proposed rule," the National Biodiesel Board said in a statement. "With that said, it important to note that RFS-2 was supposed to be in place at the beginning of this year, and extension of the comment period could further delay the implementation of the program. This will provide additional hardship to the U.S. biodiesel industry.

"RFS-2 by law requires the use of 500 million gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2009. Biodiesel is the only fuel available in the marketplace in commercial volumes able to meet this requirement. Given the extension of the RFS-2 comment period, it is only appropriate that EPA take immediate steps to ensure that the 2009 volume goals provided for in statute are met. Accordingly, the EPA should use its existing regulatory authority to ensure that biomass-based diesel volume requirements are met and issue a notice requiring obligated parties to use biodiesel in 2009 to meet its 2009 volume requirements.

"In addition, NBB will continue working with policymakers and the EPA through the rulemaking process to promote the use of sound science and to ensure that the U.S. biodiesel industry can play a constructive role in meeting the nation's energy security and climate change needs."

The comment period extension came the day after the NBB launched a RFS-2 Action Center on the NBB Web site to make it easier for the industry to submit comments. Several documents explaining the problematic areas in the proposed rule for biodiesel are posted along with links to the areas where comments can be submitted to the EPA. The action center also offers short and long versions of sample comments. "We need as many biodiesel supporters as possible to submit consistent comments to the EPA," said Michael Frohlich, NBB's Washington, D.C., director of communications. The sample comments can be used as provided, but he encouraged biodiesel producers to personalized the comment by telling their own story. "How many people have they had to lay off? Have they had to shut down? The impact on jobs in this nation is an important thing for the EPA to know," he said.

To access the EPA Web site directly for more information and instructions on submitting comments visit: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/index.htm
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