Renewable Natural Gas industry testifies in force at EPA public hearing

August 3, 2017. The renewable natural gas (RNG) industry was heavily represented at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s public comment hearing for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Volume Standard Proposed Rule to advocate for RNG transportation fuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

   In recent years, RNG — produced from organic waste across the United States at landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture facilities — has comprised a predominant majority of the cellulosic biofuel generated and registered under the RFS program.

   "RNG has supplied 98% of the RFS’s Cellulosic Biofuel market since it received the D3 RIN designation in 2014," said Ashley Patterson, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy with Ameresco.

   Nearly 40 of the 143 stakeholders pre-registered to provide public testimony carried the RNG Coalition's message to EPA. RNG stakeholders advocated that EPA's cellulosic biofuel calculation methodology in the Final Rule account for both increased cellulosic biofuel generation from projects currently producing fuel, and the projected production from 24 additional RNG projects nearing completion of construction that are planned to begin generating RIN credits under the RFS program later this year and throughout 2018.

   "Across the country, RNG projects are under construction and anticipated to generate new cellulosic biofuel next year," added Patterson. "We are concerned that a 2018 Final RVO which does not take into account RNG projects under construction and increased generation from registered facilities has a strong risk of high inaccuracy— which can impact the RNG market, affecting jobs and slowing investments."

   "I join the RNG Coalition in requesting that EPA also account for current market data, including data from construction in progress, investments made, and pathway applications submitted and pending EPA approval," said Kathy MacBeth, Director of Sales and Marketing with EcoEngineers.

   The RNG Coalition compiled data from RNG producers across the industry, and presented a packet of 62 signed project affidavits to EPA at the hearing.

   "We look forward to further communication with EPA regarding the proposed rule via submission of our written comments from the RNG industry later this month," added David Cox, RNG Coalition Director of Operations.