Ethanol industry seeks toned-down renewable fuel goals

Source: By Ben Goad, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A key industry group is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ratchet back this year’s volume requirements for biofuel production, arguing the proposed standards are unrealistic.

In formal comments submitted Monday, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) advised EPA to revise its cellulosic and advanced biofuel standards set out earlier this year.

The proposed rule sets the 2013 standard for cellulosic fuel – made from non-edible feedstock – at 14 million gallons, up from 8.65 million gallons last year.

The figure was based on expectations that two companies, KiOR and INEOS Bio, would be able to meet those production goals. RFA argues in its comments that current projections indicate the proposed standard is not realistic.

RFA, a leading ethanol trade group, did not specify a better number. Rather, the organization is urging the agency to coordinate with the two companies.

RFA is also asking EPA to bring its advanced biofuel proposed standard in line with expectations related to sugarcane imports, a crucial element of production.

“We do not believe the levels of sugarcane ethanol imports assumed by EPA are reasonable given current market conditions,” Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen said.

Additionally, RFA is asking EPA to expedite the release of 2014 standards, “so stakeholders can engage with the Agency to ensure the program is implemented as efficiently as possible next year,” Dinneen said.