DOE Funding & EPA RFS Obligations Detailed
DOE Announces Funding For 31 Projects To Help Advance Fundamental Science For Bioenergy
On June 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it would be releasing $40 million in funding for “31 projects to advance research in the development of microbes as practical platforms for the production of biofuels and other bioproducts from renewable resources.” Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under two separate DOE Funding Opportunity Announcements, one for Systems Biology of Bioenergy-Relevant Microbes and another for Bioimaging Research for Bioenergy, both sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the Department’s Office of Science. DOE states the projects will “further the ongoing revolution in biology and biotechnology, and will increase our understanding of how nature’s sophisticated production capabilities at the cellular level can be harnessed to produce sustainable, clean, and efficient fuel as well as drive other industrial production processes.” The total funding is $40 million for projects lasting three years in duration. The list of projects and more information is available on two different web pages here and here.
Biofuel And Agricultural Groups Petition EPA Regarding RFS Obligations
On June 4, 2018, several biofuel and agricultural groups, including the Renewable Fuels Association, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), and the National Biodiesel Board, among others, petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)regarding EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations. The ACE announcement states that the petition asks EPA to “change its regulations to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from [RFS] obligations recently granted by EPA.” The petition states that Section 211(o)(2)(a)(i) of the Clean Air Act “requires EPA to ensure that the annual required volumes of renewable fuel are introduced into the nation’s transportation fuel supply,” and that EPA’s “suddenly reversing its prior policy and granting retroactive exemptions to so many small refineries without adjusting its Annual Standard Equations to account for the resulting lost volumes,” means that EPA is “failing to meet its statutory obligation to ‘ensure’ that transportation fuels in the United States contain the applicable volumes of renewable fuel.” The petition requests EPA to (1) convene a proceeding to reconsider the annual standard equations in 40 C.F.R. § 80.1405(c); and (2) convene a proceeding to reconsider its final action entitled “Periodic Reviews for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program” (82 Fed. Reg. 58364 (Dec. 12, 2017)).