EPA finalizes 2013 biodiesel requirement

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012

U.S. EPA today announced it will require 1.28 billion gallons of bio-based diesel production in 2013, finalizing a standard it proposed more than a year ago.

The final volume is an increase from the 1 billion gallons that EPA required this year under the broader 2007 renewable fuel standard, which has been responsible for steady growth in the biodiesel industry. The final action today comes after the “careful review” of comments and additional information received since EPA proposed the requirement, the agency said in a statement.

“This action, which meets goals designated by Congress, is another step that strengthens America’s energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said.

EPA proposed the 1.28-billion-gallon standard in June 2012 but delayed the release of the final requirement in December, saying it was “continuing to evaluate the many comments” from stakeholders.

Biodiesel producers had been closely watching for the release of the final volume and pressing the Obama administration for an aggressive target to continue the growth in the industry, which reached a record 1.1 billion gallons last year. The industry worried that the hesitation meant EPA was reluctant to increase the standard beyond the 1 billion gallons that the statute mandates for every year after 2012 (Greenwire, Feb. 2).

The National Biodiesel Board, the industry’s main trade group, applauded today’s announcement.

“This was an incredibly important decision, and the Obama administration got it right,” Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, said in a statement. “It will allow biodiesel plants across the country to invest and expand, creating thousands of jobs.”

Biodiesel, an alternative fuel made from soybean oil, used cooking oil and animal fats, remains the only advanced biofuel in widespread commercial production. According to the latest data available, the industry has produced 4.6 billion gallons since 2005, with 660 million gallons coming between January and July of this year.