As expected, the federal government released its proposed regulations for its Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) on December 18.

The proposed rules, which take up 324-pages in the latest edition of the Canada Gazette, provide a high level of detail on what Environment and Climate Change Canada plans to require of fuel companies to reduce the amount of carbon emitted through the lifecycle of liquid fuels, such as gasoline and diesel. The government sees renewable or bio-fuels made from crops as a viable option for achieving this.

As RealAgriculture reported would be the case, the draft regulations published in Canada Gazette on Friday include several changes compared to an earlier CFS proposal that was shared with stakeholders, including farm groups, this past summer.

The land use and biodiversity requirements in the regulations no longer require individual farm verification, as assessments for biofuel feedstocks will be done on an aggregate basis. The reference year for land use changes has also been moved from 2008 to 2020, meaning land that has been converted out of forest, grassland, or wetland into crop production since 2008 could be eligible for growing a biofuel feedstock.

Biofuels are just one piece of the large, complicated framework, which requires fuel companies to reduce lifecycle carbon intensity of their fuels by greater amounts each year until 2030.

The proposed rules would establish a credit market, where each credit would represent a lifecycle emission reduction of one tonne of CO2-equivalent. Each year, a fuel company would have to show they met their reduction requirement either by creating their own credits, or by purchasing credits from other creators, such as biofuel producers.

In a year-end interview with our own Lyndsey Smith on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said farmers’ concerns about the earlier CFS proposal would be addressed in the proposed regulations, but farm and commodity group officials who have been working on the file said that would depend on the details in the regulations.

Given the complexity of the proposed CFS and the timing of its release, we’re expecting to hear reaction and more insight into what it means for agriculture in the coming week.

In the meantime, you can read the regulations for yourself, here!

More to come…

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