EPA sends RFS proposal to White House — sources 

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2015

U.S. EPA has sent its proposed renewable fuel mandates for 2014, 2015 and 2016 to the White House for review.

The agency’s proposal is at the White House Office of Management and Budget, though the office has not yet listed it on its website, according to multiple industry sources. EPA did not confirm.

According to a proposed settlement with oil industry trade groups, the agency is under a June 1 deadline to issue the proposal and a Nov. 30 deadline to finalize it. The settlement would resolve a lawsuit filed by the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers over EPA’s failure to issue the standards in recent years.

Congress added the current renewable fuel standard into the Clean Air Act in 2007 to encourage the development of both conventional ethanol and advanced biofuels.

By law, EPA is supposed to finalize the following year’s mandates for ethanol and most advanced biofuels by Nov. 30 of the previous year. The annual target for biodiesel — an advanced biofuel made of soybean oil, used cooking grease and animal fats — is supposed to be finalized 14 months before it goes into effect.

EPA, however, has yet to issue standards for 2014 or 2015. The agency pulled back last year from a controversial proposal to scale back the requirements for both conventional ethanol and advanced biofuels.

The lawsuit by the groups covered only the 2014 and 2015 targets, but EPA announced last month that it would issue the 2016 mandates under the same time frame (E&ENews PM, April 10).

EPA has already said that it would set the 2014 mandates based on actual production, but it has not given any details on how the banking of RFS credits would be handled in the rule.

The agency has also not given any hint as to whether it will retain the same approach as the withdrawn rule — which lowered the standards based on infrastructure restraints known as the “blend wall” and the slower-than-expected commercialization of advanced biofuels.

This week, oil trade groups urged EPA to retain the cuts to the program, while biofuel groups wrote to President Obama, calling on the administration to set robust targets (Greenwire, May 5).