Biofuel policy delays lead to $13.7B investment ‘shortfall’

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Delays in the Obama administration setting ethanol and biodiesel blending mandates have resulted in a $13.7 billion “shortfall” in investments, an industry group said.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) puts the blame for the lack of spending squarely on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for delaying the annual regulations it is supposed to write to tell gasoline and diesel refiners how much biofuel to put into their fuels, it said Monday.

BIO, which represents companies that make advanced and cellulosic biofuels that use woody or other inedible parts of plants, said the delays have made it harder for the industry to make those fuels widely available.

“Cellulosic and advanced biofuel producers have now reached commercial status, enabling them to build additional biorefineries based on proven technology with lower risk and reduced costs,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO.

“But just as the industry reached this stage of commercialization, EPA rulemaking delays generated instability in the RFS program and intolerable investment uncertainty,” he said.

The EPA has pledged in court to set the blending mandates by Nov. 30 of this year.

BIO said the delays have led to the loss of 80,000 direct jobs.