White House OMB reveals expected timelines of 2 RFS rules

By Erin Voegele | June 15, 2021

The Biden administration has signaled its intent to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to develop post-2022 Renewable Fuel Standard regulations before the end of 2021. A proposed rule to set annual RFS renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2021 and 2022 is expected to be released in July 2021.

Both rulemakings were discussed in the administration’s 2021 Spring Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan, which was published by the White House Office of Management and Budget on June 11.

According to information posted to the OMB website, a notice of proposed rulemaking to set annual RVOs under the RFS is scheduled to be released in July, with the rule finalized in December 2021. The brief abstract published on the rule does not indicate which compliance years the proposed rule will address. The U.S. EPA, however, failed to issue a proposed rule to set 2021 RFS RVOs last year. As such, the rulemaking is expected to include proposed RVOs for both compliance years 2021 and 2022.

A separate notice of proposed rulemaking scheduled for publication in December 2021 will address the future of the RFS program. Statutory provisions in the Clean Air Act governing the RFS provide target RVOs through 2022. For years 2023 and later, the EPA must set RVOs based on an analysis of factors specified in the statute. According to the OMB, the rulemaking scheduled for release in late 2021 is scheduled to be finalized in December 2022 and will establish RVO requirements beginning in 2023. 

The 2021 Spring Agenda and Regulatory Plan also addresses other regulations of interest to those in the biofuels and bioenergy industries.

A notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the EPA’s Fuels Regulatory Streamlining rule is scheduled for release in August 2021. That rulemaking is expected to propose minor technical amendments to EPA’s fuel quality regulations that fix minor typographical errors, provide additional clarification to reporting and recordkeeping regulatory provisions, and amend the sampling and testing requirements for fuels to be more consistent with industry practice.

The 2021 Spring Agenda and Regulatory Plan also addresses two rulemaking related to the EPA’s long-delayed municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill regulations, which were finalized in 2016. In 2017, the Trump administration announced plans to reconsider six topics addressed in the rulemaking. According to information posted to the OMB website, the EPA is scheduled to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking that includes its response for the issues for which the EPA granted reconsideration in February 2022. That rule is scheduled to be finalized in January 2023. The other rulemaking related to MSW landfills will finalize federal plan requirements that will apply to landfills located in states without approved state plans. That final rule is expected to be issued in June 2021.  

In addition, the USDA is set to issue a final rule related to its Biopreferred program in July 2021. That rule will add 2018 Farm Bill provisions to the program, specially proposing to codify program guidance into the regulations, according to the OMB. 

A separate USDA rule scheduled for publication in July 2021 is expected to finalize recently announced Rural Energy for America Program regulations. 

Additional information is available on the OMB website