EPA Reaches Agreement on RFS Deadlines

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced it has reached a consent decree with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) over its extended delays in finalizing annua lrenewable volume obligations (RVO) under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Under the agreement, EPA pledged to propose the 2015 RFS volumes and re-propose the 2014 RFS volumes by June 1, 2015, and to finalize the 2014 and 2015 volumes by November 30, 2015.  While not part of the proposed agreement, EPA also pledged to propose and finalize the 2016 RFS targets on same timeline, and propose and finalize the biomass-based diesel requirement for 2017 on the same timeline (proposal by June 1; finalize by November 30, 2015).

“On one hand, it’s good the EPA is firmly committed to getting the annual RFS thresholds back on a workable time table. However, what those thresholds are is even more important,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Getting the RFS ‘back on track’ isn’t just about timeliness, it’s about adhering to the Congressionally-mandated schedule for market access for renewable fuels. In the absence of an effective RFS in 2014 and 2015 we’ve seen growth in higher ethanol blends stall, biodiesel pull back, and cellulosic projects left in limbo.  Hopefully, the new rules will begin cracking the oil monopoly on our fuel supply the way Congress intended.”

“We applaud EPA and API for reaching an agreement that will provide all stakeholders some certainty with regard to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” stated Renewable Fuels Association(RFA) CEO Bob Dinneen. “No one has benefited from the delays in setting annual renewable volume obligations; and while we are sympathetic to the difficulty EPA faces in promulgating annual targets, the statute is clear about the volumes required and the Agency simply has to do a better job moving forward. This consent agreement is a good start. We are particularly pleased that the Agency has committed to addressing the 2016 RVO in the same timeframe even though that is outside the scope of the consent agreement. More important than EPA meeting its statutory deadlines, however, is that the Agency recognize the market transforming purpose of the RFS and allow the RIN mechanism to drive investment in infrastructure and compel consumer choice at the pump.”

“I am pleased to hear that the EPA has finally put a process in place to establish some certainty for biofuel producers with the recent announcement of the timeline for the proposed 2015 RVO rule by June 1st as well as the final 2014 and 2015 volume obligations by November 30, 2015,” stated Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “Additionally, while not part of the consent decree, we are pleased to see that the EPA has committed to finalizing the 2016 RFS RVO numbers this year as well. By taking this action, they are ensuring that the RFS is back on a path to certainty for the biofuels industry, providing the necessary guidance for the industry to continue to thrive and advance alternative fuel options for American consumers.”

“We are pleased to see the EPA make these further commitments toward ending these delays,” stated National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “Biodiesel is the most successful EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the RFS to date, and the Obama administration should be doing everything it can to promote biodiesel so we can show that advanced biofuels are here today, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent, creating jobs and reducing our dependence on global petroleum markets that wreak havoc on our economy. The RFS is the most successful policy we have for reducing emissions in the transportation sector, and it is working. We applaud the EPA for taking this step and look forward to working with the administration in the coming weeks to get this program back on track.”

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