EPA chief — no final decision yet on ’14 renewable fuel targets

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013

U.S. EPA has made no final decision about its targets next year for renewable fuels, the agency’s administrator said Friday in response to draft proposals making their rounds this week among industry stakeholders.

“At this point, EPA is only developing a draft proposal,” Gina McCarthy said in a statement. “The agency has made no final decision on the proposed renewable fuel standards for 2014.”

Greenwire on Wednesday first reported that the agency was considering significantly scaling back both its targets for conventional ethanol and advanced biofuels in apparent response to concerns raised over the last several months by the oil industry. In total, the agency would require 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into petroleum-based motor fuel next year compared with the 18.15 billion gallons anticipated by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (Greenwire, Oct. 9).

According to a draft EPA document and presentation, the proposal is one of three that EPA is considering, but it is the middle ground that the agency is leaning toward. The proposal cites “inadequate domestic supply” as a reason for cuts and says EPA would use its waiver authority to make the changes.

The agency’s 2014 standards are currently at the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. McCarthy said that the agency would consider all input before making a final decision.

“No decisions will be made on the final standards without a full opportunity for all stakeholders to comment on the EPA’s proposed 2014 renewable fuel standards and be heard on how to best foster a growing biofuels industry that takes into account infrastructure- and market-related factors,” she said.

She reiterated the Obama administration’s support for the development of biofuels.

“Biofuels are a critical part of the President’s all of the above energy strategy that is reducing America’s dependence on oil and creating jobs across the country,” McCarthy said.