The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA, to be known as the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers after 25 January), American Petroleum Institute (API) and Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) jointly filed a petition requesting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waive the 2011 cellulosic biofuel volume component of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) (earlier post) in its entirety, because it appears no cellulosic biofuel was actually produced last year.
The petition notes that EPA’s monthly summary of available volumes of cellulosic biofuels shows that no cellulosic biofuel was produced in the United States from July 2010 through October 2011.
The volume of cellulosic biofuels that EPA required refiners to use in 2011 was 6 million gallons. NPRA and API sent a petition to EPA in February 2011 to reconsider that mandate, but EPA has not yet announced a final decision on the petition.
Refiners are being ordered to do the impossible—use large volumes of cellulosic biofuels even though none have been being produced. Because they can’t use something that doesn’t exist, refiners are being told to pay $6.8 million to EPA. We don’t even know how the proceeds of this hidden de facto gasoline tax will be used. This mandate is excessive and harmful to consumers and will undoubtedly raise energy costs and could have a negative impact on fuel supplies. The time has come for EPA to approach this issue rationally and use good judgment when making a decision.—NPRA President Charles T. Drevna
Although the EPA must act on the petition within 90 days, NPRA requests the agency make a more expeditious decision based on NPRA’s prior requests for adjusted cellulosic biofuel targets.
The volume of cellulosic biofuels EPA is requiring in 2012 as part of the RFS is 8.65 million gallons (earlier post).