The U.S. EPA is scheduled to publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register on Jan. 15 extending certain Renewable Fuel Standard deadlines for compliance years 2019 and 2020. A public comment period is open through March 11 and a virtual public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 9.
In the proposed rule, the EPA proposes to extend the RFS compliance deadline for the 2019 compliance year and the associated deadline for submission of attest engagement reports for the 2019 compliance year for small refineries. The new deadlines would be set for Nov. 30, 2021 and June 1, 2022, respectively.
In the proposed rule, the EPA explains its proposal to extend the 2019 compliance deadline for small refineries is due to uncertainty surrounding small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the RFS program. The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 announced it would review a January 2020 decision handed down by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that invalidated three SREs approved by the EPA and ruled that the agency cannot “extend” exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier, temporary exemptions had lapsed. The EPA said the resolution of the appeals process for the case has the potential to impact the availability of SREs going forward and indicated the agency does not believe it would be appropriate to require small refineries to demonstrate compliance with their 2019 obligations pending the court’s ruling.
The EPA is also proposing to extend the RFS compliance deadline for the 2020 compliance year for obligated parties and renewable identification number (RIN) generating renewable fuel producers and importers, and other parties holding RINs. The new deadlines would be set for Jan. 31, 2022 and June 1, 2022, respectively.
The EPA said the extension in 2020 compliance year deadlines for all obligated parties is necessary because the agency has not yet promulgated the 2021 RFS standards. The proposed rule does not provide an estimate of when the EPA plans to propose or finalize the 2021 renewable volume requirements (RVOs).
A pre-publication version of the proposed rule can be downloaded from the Federal Register website.