EPA sets renewable fuel standards, tackles fraud

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a public meeting to be held in Ann Arbor, Mich., on March 8, to discuss a proposed rule to set guidelines for the annual quotas and other standards to be required for renewable fuels in 2013. It has also extended the comment period for the proposal until April 7.

In January, the agency announced its proposals for the minimum amount of biofuels and other types of renewable fuels that must be produced or consumed in the United States. For instance, the EPA is suggesting that at least 10 percent of the overall fuel supply used in the country this year be from renewable sources, or about 16.6 billion gallons.

In another rule, the EPA aims to reduce abuse of the Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) that petroleum refiners and importers use to prove they are complying with volume quotas for biofuels. 

The 290-page document lays out a pilot program for quality assurance and audits of the RIN numbers by third parties, among other proposals to ensure that companies are using them properly. The program would be voluntary.

“The proposed changes to the regulations governing export of renewable fuel would ensure that the appropriate number and type of RINs are retired for every gallon of renewable fuel exported, consistent with the intent of the program,” the document states.  

Comments on the measure are due by April 18. The EPA also plans to hold a hearing at its Washington headquarters on March 19.