ARKANSAS, January 6 (Future Headlines)- The state of Washington is set to usher in a new era of sustainable aviation through the expansion and alignment of its Clean Fuels Program regulations. The Washington Department of Ecology recently published a notice outlining its plans to update the program to harmonize with legislation enacted in 2023. Senate Bill 5447, signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee, seeks to incentivize the production and adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) through tax incentives. This comprehensive analysis explores the key elements of the legislation, the implications for the Clean Fuels Program, and the state’s commitment to fostering a low-carbon aviation future.

SB 5447, signed into law in May 2023, serves as a catalyst for the growth of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Designed to encourage both the production and purchase of SAF through strategic tax incentives. Places a specific focus on carbon intensity (CI) pathways for alternative jet fuel.

The Department of Ecology’s notice highlights the intent to align the Clean Fuels Program regulations with the provisions of SB 5447. Emphasis on updating the date for SAF pathway submissions to facilitate credit generation under the Clean Fuels Standard. The rulemaking process will consider allowing one or more CI pathways for alternative jet fuel. A strategic move to diversify and accommodate different pathways that contribute to lowering carbon intensity.

Consideration of changes to further incentivize the production of low-carbon intensity SAF. Potential amendments to the compliance and enforcement process to fortify the Clean Fuels Program. Introduction of requirements for a third-party verification program for fuel pathway applications. Aiming to enhance the credibility and accuracy of data reports submitted by participants in the program. Updating rule language to enhance clarity, align with guidance documents, and correct errors. Miscellaneous improvements to streamline program implementation and ensure ease of understanding.

Efforts to harmonize the rule with Oregon and/or California low carbon or clean fuel program requirements. Promoting regional alignment for a cohesive and cooperative approach to sustainable aviation initiatives. The Department of Ecology plans to initiate stakeholder meetings, fostering collaboration and diverse perspectives. Stakeholder engagement is vital for ensuring a well-rounded and inclusive regulatory framework.

Commencing in January, the agency will actively develop and prepare rule language in collaboration with stakeholders. Aiming for a comprehensive and well-informed set of regulations that address various industry needs. The anticipated release of the proposed rule is in the fall of 2024. Provides stakeholders and industry players an opportunity to review and provide feedback on the proposed changes. The final rule is expected to be promulgated in winter 2025. Demonstrates a methodical and considered approach to ensuring the regulations are effective and feasible.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White