Senators urge EPA to approve eRIN pathway petitions

By Erin Voegele | June 16, 2021

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine; Margaret Wood Hassan, D-N.H.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc.; and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., on June 14 sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging him to allow renewable electricity made from biomass to participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard program.

“We are writing to request that you act expeditiously to address languishing applications for renewable electricity producers to participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program,” the senators wrote. “Farmers, foresters, local governments and small business owners nationwide have been adversely impacted by the inability to participate in the RFS due to agency inaction on renewable facility registration applications involving approved fuel pathways and petitions for approval of additional fuel pathways.

“Biogas, biomass and waste-to-energy electricity producers need the [EPA] to take action to approve their participation in this important program,” they continued. “In some cases, authorization for participation in the program is the difference between survival and having to shut their doors. The production of cellulosic biofuel electricity from RFS-approved feedstocks helps drive the growth and development of sustainable agriculture, forestry and the rural economy, and supports greenhouse gas emissions reductions. EPA needs to act with urgency to address obstacles limiting biomass power generation and the forest-based industries it supports.”

The letter notes that Congress has already made its intent to allow certain renewable electricity producers to participate in the RFS through language included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The senators also stress there is currently a significant backlog of RFS petitions for bioenergy pathways. Approving those pathways would help reach the statutory RFS goals for cellulosic biofuels.

The Biomass Power Association has spoken out in support of the letter. "We are very grateful to Senator Shaheen and Senator Collins for their longtime, unwavering support for the biomass power industry. We thank them along with Senator King, Senator Hassan, Senator Baldwin and Senator Sinema for sending a clear signal to the Biden Administration that including eRINs in the Renewable Fuel Standard should be a top priority,” said Carrie Annand, executive director of the BPA. “Congress included electricity from qualified fuels as part of the program when it passed the RFS2 law in 2007, and has since directed the EPA to include electricity in several Appropriations bills. Enabling biomass, biogas and waste-to-energy electricity producers to generate RIN credits will have tangible benefits across rural America, and we look forward to working with Administrator Regan to implement the eRIN program." 

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Shaheen’s website