EPA  Issues Supplemental  Final  Rule
                   for New Qualifying Renewable  Fuels
                   under the RFS  Program
                       The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a supple-
                       mental final rule associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard
                   (RFS) program. This rule contains a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG)
                   analysis for renewable  fuels made from giant reed (Arundo donax)
                   and napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum), and a regulatory determi-
                   nation that such fuels qualify as cellulosic renewable fuel under the
                   RFS program. EPA is addressing concerns over the potential for these
                   feedstocks to behave as invasive species by adopting a set of new regis-
                   tration, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements that apply only to
                   fuels produced under these pathways.

                   In the March 2010 RFS final rule, EPA assessed the lifecycle GHG emissions of mul'
                   tiple renewable fuel pathways (defined as feedstock, fuel type, and fuel production
                   process). Assessment of lifecycle GHG emissions is necessary to determine which
                   fuel pathways meet the GHG reduction thresholds for the four required renew-
                   able fuel categories specified in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
                   (EISA), which made revisions to the RFS program. EISA requires a 20% reduction
                   in lifecycle GHG emissions for renewable fuel produced at new facilities (those
                   constructed after enactment), a 50% reduction for biomass-based diesel or advanced
                   biofuel, and a 60% reduction for cellulosic biofuel,

                   Assessing whether a fuel pathway meets these thresholds requires a comprehensive
                   evaluation of the lifecycle GHG emissions of the renewable fuel as compared to the
                   lifecycle GHG emissions of the gasoline or diesel fuel that it replaces.

                   Although EPA included lifecycle GHG assessments for a number of fuel pathways
                   in the final RFS rule, EPA recognized at the time that new pathways would requires
                   assessment in the future. EPA established a petition process to handle such situations
United States
Environmental Protection
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
                      June 2013

and provide a mechanism by which new pathways could be evaluated. This mechanism allows
parties to request that EPA conduct a lifecycle GHG assessment for a new fuel pathway and
provide a determination of the RFS fuel category for which the new pathway may be eligible. In
response to requests we received through the petition process, this supplemental final rule adds
determinations for new feedstock and process technology pathways to the regulations.
Our Analysis
In order to calculate lifecycle GHG emissions for this final rule, EPA utilized models developed
for the 2010 RFS final rule. These models take into account energy and emissions inputs for fuel
and feedstock production, distribution, and use, as well as economic models that predict changes
in agricultural markets. Our analysis of lifecycle GHG emissions associated with renewable fuels
produced from giant reed and napier grass found that they met the statutory lifecycle GHG
emissions reduction requirement for cellulosic biofuels (60 percent below the baseline gasoline/
diesel level).
Rulemaking  Process
EPA published a  direct final rule (77 FR 700) and a parallel proposed rule on January 5, 2012
(77 FR 462) to amend the RFS regulations (Table 1 of  80.1426) by identifying the additional
renewable fuel production pathways and pathway components described above. EPA subse-
quently received  adverse comment on certain aspects of the direct final rule and on March
5, 2012, EPA withdrew the direct final rule (77 FR 13009). Comments on that proposed rule
focused on the potential for giant reed and napier grass to behave as invasive species. On March
5, 2013, EPA finalized many of the provisions included in the proposed rule (78 FR 14190). In
that action, EPA did not take action on our analysis related to giant reed and napier grass, and
instead stated that we would continue to consider the issues that were raised in comments.

In this supplemental final rule, EPA has determined that renewable fuel made from napier grass
and giant reed meet the GHG reduction requirements for cellulosic biofuel under the require-
ments of the RFS program. In response to comments on the proposal concerning the risk of
these crops behaving  as invasive species and requiring remediation activities that may cause ad-
ditional GHG emissions, EPA is adopting additional registration, recordkeeping, and reporting
requirements to minimize this risk. For example, EPA is requiring that renewable fuel producers
demonstrate that the  growth of giant reed or napier grass will not pose  a significant likelihood of
spreading beyond the planting area or that such a risk will be minimized through an EPA-
approved Risk Mitigation Plan (RMP). The RMP will include plans for early detection and
rapid response to potential spread, best management practices as modeled by existing state and
federal invasive species management programs, continuous monitoring and reporting of site
conditions, a plan for site closure and post-closure monitoring, and identification of a third party
auditor who will  evaluate the performance of the RMP on an ongoing annual basis.

            For More Information

            For more information, please visit the RFS website at:


            To submit a question on the RFS program, and to view Frequently Asked Questions, please visit: