Environmental, Social & Economic Impacts projects

Biofuel Law and Regulation: Federal/State Law and Policy

This project, which began in 2012, studies the legal and regulatory regimes, frameworks, policies, and institutions at the federal and state level affecting the commercialization of second-generation biofuels. Based on these analyses, well-reasoned regulatory reforms will be developed. By helping to better inform policy discussions about the optimal structure of biofuel-related laws and regulations, the work will prove highly beneficial to biofuel producers and the developing biofuels industry in general.

project Highlights

2014 Highlights

The project focuses on the various ways that legal and regulatory regimes impact the commercialization of second-generation biofuels. As we are confronting the blend wall, we have continued to analyze and advance reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), specifically RIN reform, a re-definition of “obligated parties” and the need for other incentives for retailers to complement the RFS. We have also analyzed the final QAP rules promulgated by the EPA, studied E15 misfueling liability, and analyzed vertical integration in biomass contracting in the U.S. and in Brazil.

2013 Highlights

The Biofuel Law and Regulation Project focuses on the various ways that legal and regulatory regimes impact the commercialization of second-generation biofuels. For example, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a primary focus of the project, with recent efforts being directed at developing sound policy recommendations for revising the RFS in light of current implementation issues. We are also working on analyzing the legal and regulatory hurdles in the commercialization of gasoline with higher (>10%) content of biofuel additives. Additionally, the project is also expanding its scope to address legal and regulatory regimes in Brazil and Europe, with the goal of developing efficient ways to harmonize these regimes with their American counterparts in order to facilitate the development of global biofuel supply chains.

2012 Highlights

Our research in 2012 continued to focus on several key areas: the federal Renewable Fuel Standard’s effects on economies of scale in the biofuels industry, optimal contract structures for energy biomass, and how prior resolutions of legal disputes in the agricultural sector might inform optimal contract structure. We completed a research project analyzing how to best move forward both legislatively and administratively with the RFS in light of stakeholder preferences and their respective political bargaining power. Among our activities, we organized and held the Fourth Annual EBI Biofuels Law and Regulation Conference, with its focus on RFS2. We also continued to participate on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Biomass Working Group.


Published in 2014

The Renewable Fuel Standard 3.0?: Moving Forward with the Federal Biofuel Mandate, Timothy A. Slating and Jay P. Kesan, New York University Environmental Law Journal, V. 20, pp. 374-506, April 10, 2014. 


Legal and Regulatory Issues in the U.S., Jay P. Kesan and Timothy A. Slating, book chapter, Compendium of Bioenergy Crops: Corn, Chapter 10, S.L. Goldman and C. Kole, eds., CRC Press, pp. 268-291, 2014. 

Published in 2013

The Effects of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on the Production of Fuel Ethanol in the U.S., Jay P. Kesan, Timothy A. Slating, Hsaio-Shan Yang, Illinois Public Law Research Paper, doi: 10.2139/ssrn.2327112, September 2013.


Legal and Regulatory Issues, Jay P. Kesan and Timothy A. Slating, Chapter from Compendium of Bioenergy Plants: Corn, Stephen L. Goldman and Chittaranjan Kole, editors, ISBN 9781482210583, Cat# K21660.


The Renewable Fuel Standard 3.0? Moving Forward with the Federal Biofuel Mandate, Timothy Slating, Jay Kesan, New York University Environmental Law Journalhttp://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2141862, February 2013.

Published in 2012

Overview of Legal and Regulatory Issues Related to the Use of Maize as a Feedstock for Biofuels, Jay Kesan, Timothy Slating, Compendium of Bioenergy Crops: Maize Volumehttp://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers/cfm?abstract_id=2002143, February 2012.


A Legal Analysis of the Effects of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) and Clean Air Act on the Commercialization of Biobutanol as a Transportation Fuel in the United States, Timothy Slating, Jay Kesan, Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, 4 (1), doi:10.1111/j.1757-1707.2011.01146.x, January 9, 2012.


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