Biofuels and the Environment: Third Triennial Report to Congress (External Review Draft)

Notice

EPA announced the availability of the Biofuels and the Environment: Third Triennial Report to Congress (External Review Draft) for a 60-day public comment period which begins January 3, 2023 and ends March 6, 2023. Comments must be received on or before March 6, 2023. [Federal Register Notice Jan 3, 2023]

Abstract

EPA announced the release of the draft report, Biofuels and the Environment: Third Triennial Report to Congress External Review Draft for public comment and external panel peer review. This report is responsive to Section 204 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). This Third Triennial Report to Congress focuses on the dominant biofuel sources in the US: (1) domestic corn ethanol from corn starch, (2) domestic biodiesel from soybean oil, (3) domestic biodiesel from fats, oils, and greases (FOGs), and (4) imported ethanol from Brazilian sugarcane. The report was developed in close collaboration with USDA, DOE, and USGS. Peer review will be conducted under the framework of EPA’s Scientific Integrity Policy and follow procedures established in EPA’s Peer Review Handbook 4th Edition, 2015 (EPA/100/B-15/001) and the Office of Management and Budget’s "Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review."

Background

In 2007, Congress enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) with the stated goals of "mov[ing] the United States toward greater energy independence and security [and] to increase the production of clean renewable fuels." In accordance with these goals, EISA revised the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program, which was created under the 2005 Energy Policy Act and is administered by EPA, to increase the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022. Section 204 of EISA directs EPA, in consultation with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy, to assess and report triennially to Congress on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the RFS Program.

The first report to Congress was completed in 2011 and provided an assessment of the environmental and resource conservation impacts associated with increased biofuel production and use (EPA/600/R-10/183F). The overarching conclusions of this first report were: (1) the environmental impacts of increased biofuel production and use were likely negative but limited in impact; (2) there was a potential for both positive and negative impacts in the future; and (3) EISA goals for biofuels production could be achieved with minimal environmental impacts if best practices were used and if technologies advanced to facilitate the use of second-generation biofuel feedstocks (corn stover, perennial grasses, woody biomass, algae, and waste).

The second report to Congress was completed in 2018 and reaffirmed the overarching conclusions of the RtC1 (EPA/600/R-18/195). The second report noted that the biofuel production and use conditions that led to the conclusions of the first report had not materially changed, and that the production of biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks anticipated by both the EISA and the first report had not materialized. Noting observed increases in acreage for corn and soybean production in the period prior to and following implementation of the RFS2 Program, the second report concluded that the environmental and resource conservation impacts associated with land use change were likely due, at least in part, to the RFS and associated production of biofuel feedstocks but that further research was needed.


Impact/Purpose

This third report builds on the previous two reports and provides an update on the impacts to date of the RFS Program on the environment. This report assesses air, water, and soil quality; ecosystem health and biodiversity; and other effects. This third report also includes new analyses not previously included in the first and second reports.

Citation

U.S. EPA. Biofuels and the Environment: Third Triennial Report to Congress (External Review Draft). EPA/600/R-22/273, 2022.

History/Chronology

Date Description
03-Jan 2023EPA released the Biofuels and the Environment: Third Triennial Report to Congress (External Review Draft) for public comment. [Federal Register Notice Jan 3, 2023]
04-Aug 2022EPA put out a call for the public to review and comment on a few additional candidates to serve on the external peer review committee. [Federal Register Notice August 1, 2022]
05-May 2022EPA put out a call for the public to review and comment on the list of potential candidates for the upcoming peer review panel for review of the draft report. [Federal Register Notice May 9, 2022
06-Feb 2022EPA announced a call for nomination of experts for the upcoming peer review panel for review of the draft report. [Federal Register Notice Feb 1, 2022]

This download(s) is distributed solely for the purpose of pre-dissemination peer review under applicable information quality guidelines. It has not been formally disseminated by EPA. It does not represent and should not be construed to represent any Agency determination or policy.