The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Energy Project seeks your input as part of a yearlong effort aimed at fostering constructive dialogue and action on reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Legal and Regulatory Issues Related to the Renewable Fuel StandardBPC commissioned a series of background papers on various RFS topics. The last three papers, summarized below, approach the RFS from the perspectives of policy and law, considering both the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority as well as broader federal regulations.

Inventory of Federal Regulations Affecting Biofuels other than the Renewable Fuel Standard [Read here]
Van Ness Feldman

  • “Although the RFS has been the key driver in the production and use of biofuels in recent years, there are a number of other provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that directly or indirectly create incentives or barriers to the use of biofuels in the vehicle transportation sector.”

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Authority to Amend the Renewable Fuel Standard [Read here]
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

  • “EPA is proposing to exercise its waiver authority to reduce the 2014 RFS mandates based on a finding that there ‘inadequate domestic supply.’… EPA’s determination would be upheld unless it is arbitrary and capricious.”

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Authority to Amend the Renewable Fuel Standard [Read here]
Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

  • “With each EPA decision and court decision, a path of precedent is being laid that EPA should consider in making its future volume decisions.  To be upheld, each decision must be consistent with prior waiver decisions or otherwise be adequately supported by a record showing why departure from prior decisions is rational.  Given the strong competing interests at stake in waiving annual volume requirements, judicial challenges of each of EPA’s decisions are highly likely.”

Please share your reaction to one or more of the perspectives detailed in these papers. Further, what are the most important legal and policy issues for regulators and legislators to consider as they move forward with reforming the RFS? How will future policy options for the RFS be impacted by these issues?

BPC is convening a diverse RFS advisory group to discuss opportunities for reform, hosting public workshops to solicit broad input, and ultimately publishing viable policy options based, in part, on the advisory group’s deliberations.