Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Pending Rulemaking

By Manning

Our senior level team from Playmaker Strategies LLC and Van Ness Feldman is uniquely qualified to help you have a direct and positive impact on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) pending rulemaking to establish next year’s Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”) volume requirements.


On November 29, 2013, the EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2013–0479) to set the 2014 volume requirements under the RFS for renewable fuel and for biomass-based diesel in 2015 (“proposed rule”).  The comment period for the proposed rule closes on January 28, 2013.

Overview of the EPA’s Proposed Rule:

The proposed rule would:

  • Reduce the 2014 volume requirement for conventional renewable fuel (ethanol) to 13.01 billion gallons, which is 1.39 billion gallons below the 14.4 billion gallon level required by law.  The EPA justifies this move citing its authority under Section 211(o)(7)(A) of the Clean Air Act to waive ethanol volume requirements do to “inadequate domestic supply.”
  • Sets both the 2014 and 2015 volume requirement at 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel.  Though this exceeds the 1 billion gallons required by law, it is significantly lower than 2013 domestic production levels, and would have a devastating impact on biodiesel producers.
  • Provide for a 17 million gallon cellulosic biofuel requirement (with a range of 8 million to 30 million gallons), and an overall advanced biofuel requirement of 2.2 billion gallons (with a range of 2 to 2.51 billion gallons).  This would have the practical impact of cutting the 3.75 billion gallon advanced biofuel requirement provided for by law by 1.55 billion gallons. 

Potential Impact on U.S. Renewable Fuels Stakeholders:

There is consensus among renewable fuel stakeholders that the EPA’s proposed rule setting the RFS program’s volume requirements for 2014 (and 2015 for biomass-based diesel) would significantly curtail the expanded domestic production and use of biofuels.  Of note:

  • Trade associations representing the leaders in America’s ethanol industry and commodity stakeholders have consistently noted that the 1.39 billion gallon cut in ethanol volume requirements provided for in the EPA’s proposed rule would harm the market for biofuel producers; reduce farm income; cause increased greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions, and increase prices at the pump for fuel consumers.
  • Leading companies, trade associations and commodity groups with a stake in the U.S. biodiesel market have noted that the EPA’s proposed rule would have a devastating impact on the domestic biodiesel market.  The biodiesel industry is currently producing at an annualized rate of about 2 billion gallons, and setting the biomass-based diesel volume requirement at 1.28 billion gallons for both 2014 and 2015 would artificially constrict the industry and directly lead to the failure of otherwise economically viable biodiesel producers. 
  • The proposed rule would reduce the overall advanced biofuel requirement from 3.75 billion gallons to 2.2 billion gallons (with a range of 2 to 2.51 billion gallons).  Leading advanced biofuels producers have noted that this market signal from EPA would severely constrict access to the private sector investment capital needed to foster the growth and viability of America’s advanced biofuels industry.

Stakeholders Who Engage Can Positively Impact the RVO Rulemaking Process:

The EPA is required to consider and incorporate the input of stakeholders as the final rule implementing the RFS volume requirements is crafted.  Providing compelling, expertly-written comments to the EPA that are crafted to reflect a company or organization’s specific priorities and perspective is a proven and highly effective way of influencing this process.

The public has until January 28, 2014 to submit comments to EPA on the proposed rule.

If your company or organization has a stake in the future of the RFS program, it is in your economic interests to provide your input and perspective in this important rulemaking process.

Our Team Can Work With You to Craft and Submit Professional, Highly Effective Comments to the EPA:

Our team is uniquely qualified to help you submit comments to the EPA that will have the desired impact.  Manning Feraci and Larry Schafer, the Principals at Playmaker Strategies, LLC, have decades of regulatory and policymaking experience and are experts on the RFS program.  Mark Palmer with Van Ness Feldman adds significant expertise on energy, renewable fuels and agriculture policy. 

About Our Team:

Manning Feraci:

Feraci has over twenty years of experience both as a staffer on Capitol Hill and as a government affairs professional successfully navigating a myriad of tax, energy, trade and agriculture issues through the federal legislative and regulatory process.  In his previous capacity as Vice President of Federal Affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, he spearheaded the regulatory and advocacy effort that yielded a favorable legislative and regulatory outcome for the U.S. biodiesel industry under the RFS program.


Click here to view Manning Feraci’s complete biography:

Manning Feraci

Principal, Playmaker Strategies LLC

Email:  Mferaci@PlaymakerStrategies.com

Phone:  (202)491-1184


Larry Schafer:

Schafer has represented renewable fuels interests for over two decades and is widely viewed as one of the nation’s preeminent experts on the federal RFS program.  He has provided service to, among others, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board and a host of other conventional and advanced biofuel stakeholders.


Click here to view Larry Schafer’s complete biography:

Larry Schafer

Principal, Playmaker Strategies, LLC

Email:  LSchafer@PlaymakerStrategies.com


Mark Palmer:

Mark Palmer’s practice at Van Ness Feldman is concentrated in the biofuels, renewable energy, clean tech, and public policy arenas, where he has a strong background in regulatory, authorizations, appropriations, and tax policy matters.  Mr. Palmer’s years of experience in both the Executive Branch and on Capitol Hill gives him a comprehensive knowledge of the mechanics of the regulatory and legislative process.  Palmer is specifically qualified to help stakeholders have a positive impact on the RFS regulatory process.   

Click here to review Mark Palmer’s complete biography:

Mark Palmer

Senior Director, Government Affairs

Van Ness Feldman

Email:  MMP@vnf.com

Phone:  (202)298-1951


In Conclusion:

We would welcome the opportunity to help you successfully navigate and positively impact this important RFS rulemaking process.  Feel free to contact any of us to further discuss this important matter.