On September 17, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted its final Fuels Regulatory Streamlining Rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Whenever regulatory changes impacting renewable fuels are proposed or implemented, it’s natural to have questions regarding the impact on our clean air initiatives. This article provides a quick summary of the EPA’s latest rule.
What is the purpose of the new rule?
The EPA is seeking to streamline and modernize existing fuels regulations with, as they described, “some slight modifications to the Renewable Fuel Standard” while emphasizing they do not plan to make substantive changes to the RNS as it currently stands. According to the Fact Sheet released in April 2020 with their initial proposal, “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to update EPA’s existing gasoline, diesel, and other fuels programs in 40 CFR part 80 to improve overall compliance assurance and maintain environmental performance while reducing compliance costs for industry and EPA.” For example, the new rule removes expired provisions, eliminates redundant compliance provisions (duplicate registration requirements of various EPA fuels programs, for example), and removes out-of-date requirements.
What are the primary benefits of the Fuels Regulatory Streamlining Rule?
The EPA estimates nearly $40 million per year will be saved through reduced administrative costs as a result of simplified regulations that are easier to understand, implement, and track. While not substantiated, the EPA also believes other savings will be achieved associated with improving the fungibility of fuel and providing greater flexibility for fuel production and distribution.
What will be included?
The EPA has summarized the main parts of the new rule as:
- Simplification of the reformulated gasoline (RFG) summer volatile organic compound (VOC) standards,
- Consolidation of the regulatory requirements that had existed under 40 CFR part 80’s requirements for fuel quality programs, and
- Improvement of oversight by leveraging third parties to ensure in-use fuel quality.
What will stay the same?
At this time, the EPA has provided assurance that the new rule does not propose to change the strength of existing fuel quality standards. No statutory requirements for fuels specified in the Clean Air Act will be removed. Additionally, no new standards on fuels are being introduced.
Want to keep up to date on news and developments impacting renewable energy sources?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is enhancing the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!