A proposed consent decree in litigation brought against EPA by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) would establish the following schedule for issuing Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014 and 2015:
By 1 June, the agency will propose volume requirements for 2015;
By 30 November, EPA will finalize volume requirements for 2014 and 2015 and resolve a pending waiver petition for 2014.
Outside the scope of the consent decree, EPA also commits to:
Propose the RFS volume requirements for 2016 by 1 June, and finalize them by 30 November;
Propose and finalize the RFS biomass-based diesel volume requirement for 2017 on the same schedule; and
Re-propose volume requirements for 2014, by 1 June, that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.
EPA intends to issue a Federal Register Notice allowing the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed consent decree.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set the annual RFS ethanol mandates by 30 November of the preceding year, but EPA issued the 2013 requirements eight months late and has yet to issue the 2014 or 2015 requirements. API and AFPM filed a lawsuit in March over EPA’s failure to meet the mandated RFS deadlines.
Reacting to the announcement of the settlement, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) urged EPA to correct the flawed methodology in its proposed rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard.
To continue making visible progress in commercializing advanced biofuels, our member companies need stable policy. The changes EPA proposed in 2013 to the Renewable Fuel Standard program and the delay in taking final action on the rule have chilled investment in advanced biofuels, even as the first companies began to successfully prove this technology at commercial scale.
EPA has set out a timeline to get this program back on track. The agency must take strong action to reverse the damaging proposal to change the methodology of the program in order to comply with the requirements of the RFS.—Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section