EPA approves Canadian renewable biomass for RFS2

By Luke Geiver | September 29, 2011

After roughly seven months of thorough consideration and review, the U.S. EPA has approved a petition put forth by the government of Canada to allow renewable biomass grown in Canada to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard. In a document explaining the determination on the Government of Canada’s petition, the EPA stated that it has “determined that the criteria for approval of the petition have been satisfied, and, effective immediately, approves the use of an aggregate compliance approach to renewable biomass verification for planted crops and crop residue grown in Canada.”

The EPA’s decision means that any producer or RIN generating importer of renewable fuel made from planted crops or crop residue from existing Canadian agricultural land will be covered by, and qualify for, the RFS2. Any renewable fuel produced from Canadian-based crops or crop residues will qualify for RIN status, regardless of when the crops were harvested, according to the EPA.

To evaluate submitted petitions, the EPA uses several factors to aid in the decision. One of the main considerations noted in the EPA document explaining the approval was the data and information provided by the Canadian Government showing that the total acreage that could be used to produce renewable biomass was equivalent to, but not greater than the U.S. Conservation Reserve Program land as of 2007, land that was fallow and non-forested, or land that was previously used for agricultural purposes before 2007. The EPA used a combination of satellite imagery, aerial photography, census data, agricultural survey data and agricultural economic modeling data to determine that the land for use in question qualified.

Although the Canadian petition called for the allowance of 124 million acres, all located in the southern region of Canada, the EPA decided to allow 123 million acres for use in growing renewable biomass satisfactory to the terms of RFS2 compliance. “We recognize that while the RFS2 mandates will in part be met by feedstock relative to the amount of land already in crop production in Canada, fulfilling the RFS2 mandates will not drive significant changes in the amount of agricultural land in Canada,” the EPA said.

For more information on the EPA’s decision to approve the Canadian Government’s petition: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htm.



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