The answers we’re waiting for, and how you can prepare now.
On June 1, 2023, the EPA plans to announce the finalized version of its Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023, 2024 and 2025. The regulations have been the subject of intense debate in the community, especially as it came to light that in its attempts to better sniff out bad actors who engage in feedstock mislabeling fraud or theft, the EPA might also end up hobbling the majority of small and mid-sized independent used cooking oil collectors. (See Reiter’s Market Impact Analysis.)
At present it is unclear what options the EPA will give to independent UCO collectors with respect to records retention and verification. What we know for sure is that detailed recordkeeping is already, and will continue to be, required. What we don’t know is who those records will need to be shared with. Will the EPA require used cooking oil collectors to give point of origin records to buyers or to 3rd party auditors? Does the buyer choose the party? Or the sellers? Will encrypted records be allowed? Who has the key to audit them?
Because of this debate, the EPA has not been enforcing the current rule—used cooking oil collectors are not currently required to hand over their records to their buyers for EPA compliance (companies can make it a requirement to do business, but they don’t currently need to share it to with the EPA)—and no one knows exactly what the EPA will announce in June.
Regardless of what the agency announces, you can prepare by getting your records organized using Route Simplified, so you’re ready for any type of audit.
At first, the text suggested that collectors would need to share all of their point of origin records to their buyers at the time of sale, but since many buyers also have their own collection arms, it became clear that having collectors hand over the list of all of their clients along with the volumes of oil collected was tantamount to forcing them to share confidential business data with their collectors. The EPA decided to offer the option for buyers to use third party auditors to hold the data, rather than collect it themselves, but unfortunately, that meant that the choice still lay with the buyers, who could still choose to insist on requiring data from any of their collectors if they wished.
So, last year, Reiter USA attended a public comment hearing and created a petition, signed by many used cooking oil collectors requesting that the EPA offer several protections for independent used cooking oil collectors, including making third party auditors and recordholders a requirement, not an option, for all buyers. That would mean that collectors wouldn’t be forced to hand their data to buyers.
We still don’t know whether the EPA will decide to enact a third-party auditor requirement, if the agency will leave that choice up to the buyers or even if it’ll propose an entirely new solution. What we do know is that starting June 1, it’s very likely that used cooking oil collectors will need to have detailed, organized, and ready-to-transfer collection records, or else they may not be able to sell their oil.
How can you prepare?
We won’t claim to know exactly what the EPA will require, but if you register before April 21, Route Simplified can guarantee that come June, we will have your company onboarded into Route Simplified by June 1, so that no matter who you need to share them with, you and your drivers will be collecting and organizing all the records you’ll need, seamlessly.
And as soon as we know who you’ll need to share those record with, we’ll continue to develop integrations to make sure that the transfer of your confidential data is completely secure.
Arrange a free 30-minute consultation here to discover your compliance choices and start putting your company in the best possible position to turn these significant impending regulatory changes into an efficiency improvement opportunity for your company.
Don’t let companies preemptively requesting data today scare you. While companies can required records as a part of a business deal, they do not need them for EPA compliance before June 1. Still, the time to prepare is now.