Washington D.C. Report

December 18, 2017

EPA Clarifies Timing on Submission of CERCLA Emissions Written Reports

As reported to UEP earlier, at US EPA's request, the DC Circuit Court has delayed until January 22, 2018 the effective date of the court's April decision that will require animal operations to report their air emissions of ammonia to the federal government under CERCLA. This new effective date raises a question for some animal operations that have already submitted their verbal CERCLA reports to the National Response Center, but have not yet filed their 30-day follow up written report to the US EPA Regional Office: do these operations still need to submit their written reports within 30 days of their verbal report, or can they wait to do so until after the court's mandate takes effect?  Late last week, US EPA answered this question on their CERCLA Guidance website. Producers in this circumstance can wait to submit their written report until after the mandate takes effect. Some in animal agriculture are choosing to go ahead and submit that second report now. Others are choosing to wait. One reason to wait is that US EPA may yet amend their guidance as to what to include in that written report. Please contact UEP if you have any questions.

EPA Sets Final Ethanol Mandates

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized biofuel requirements for 2018 and, in the case of biodiesel, 2019.  The mandates require the use of ethanol, biodiesel and some other biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Though previous years’ RFS rulemaking was controversial and wound up in court, the reaction to the new targets was relatively muted. EPA again made a large reduction in the requirement for cellulosic biofuels, since that industry has fallen far short of expected production.  The mandate for conventional – corn-based – ethanol remains at 15 billion gallons, which is the maximum allowed under the law that created the RFS.  EPA does not have legal authority to raise the corn ethanol target further.

Biodiesel firms were disappointed their number was not larger, but EPA cited several factors in leaving it unchanged for 2019, compared to 2018 – among them the expected drop in imported biodiesel because of new tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration.