EPA Submits RFS For Approval
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency sent its final Renewable Fuel Standard rule on volume obligation to the
Office of Management and Budget for interagency review in late August. OMB
reviews all agency-written rules prior to finalization to ensure compliance
with administration policy. It’s expected the review process at OMB will take
several months to complete.
According to an EPA spokesperson,
"The agency’s overarching goal is to put the RFS program on a path that
supports continued growth in renewable fuels in the future.” After an extensive
public comment process where EPA received 340,000 comments, the final determination
was included in the rule sent to OMB. The information will not be released to
the public until after the OMB review, but rumors in D.C. are circulating that
the total volume numbers may increase, which translates to a higher ethanol
percentage at the pump.
Ethanol use has been destructive
to many older boat engines, fuel tanks and outboard motors. Safety and high repair costs have been the
biggest concerns of marine retailers, who have lobbied EPA and Congress for
stabilization or outright repeal of the RFS. Boat engine manufactures are
making engines today that can tolerate E-10, but ethanol levels in excess of
that, such as E-15, pose significant risks.
EPA is responsible for developing
and implementing federal regulations to ensure transportation fuel sold in the
U.S. contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The RFS program was created
under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It establishes a total renewable fuel
volume mandate. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the RFS
program was expanded to include diesel and increased the RFS from 9 billion
gallons to 36 billion in 2022.
MRAA is working to schedule an
important meeting with OMB within the next few weeks to report on the problems that
boaters and anglers experience with the current (and potentially increased) ethanol
levels in marine fuels.