New 2013 cellulosic standard takes effect July 1

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014

U.S. EPA’s revised 2013 standard for advanced biofuels made from crop wastes, grasses and other plants will go into effect July 1, according to a court document filed yesterday.

EPA told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that it received no negative comments on the new standard it issued in April in the form of a direct final rule. The standard represents a significant reduction in the amount of cellulosic biofuels that refiners have to show they blended into petroleum in 2013.EPA proposed the new standard after oil and gas groups petitioned the agency, arguing that there was not enough cellulosic biofuel in the market to meet EPA’s original standard of 6 million ethanol-equivalent gallons.The new standard requires refiners to show that in 2013 they blended or purchased renewable fuel credits for 810,185 gallons, a number that’s based on actual production (E&ENews PM, April 22).

The American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers have filed a lawsuit over the 2013 renewable fuel standard targets — which include both ethanol and advanced biofuel — but asked that the court delay their challenges until EPA finished its reconsideration of the 2013 cellulosic biofuel standard. The oil and gas trade groups will now have until July 31 to decide how to proceed with the case, according to the court document.

The appeals court last month struck down a separate challenge by a small refinery owned by Delta Air Lines Inc. (Greenwire, May 6).

The end of the 2013 compliance period for the renewable fuel standard is rapidly approaching on June 30, and the White House has yet to initiate a review of EPA’s final standard for 2014. At this point, it is likely that EPA will extend the 2013 compliance year until later in the summer, according to a refining industry source.