Oil industry calls on EPA to release 2013 requirements

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012

The American Petroleum Institute yesterday urged U.S. EPA to release next year’s volume requirements for traditional ethanol and advanced biofuel production, warning that refiners would not have enough time to comply before the standards go into effect on Jan. 1.

In a letter to Chris Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the oil industry trade group also asked again for a waiver from the cellulosic biofuel portion of the renewable fuel standard. EPA earlier this year denied a petition from API and other oil groups to waive the requirements set in 2011; the matter is now in court.

“We fear that EPA may increase the requirement for cellulosic biofuel in 2013,” said API’s Bob Greco, director of downstream operations, in a statement accompanying the letter. “The agency should consider waiving this absurd mandate for a fuel that does not even exist and amounts to a stealth tax on making gasoline that could ultimately burden consumers.”

Under the 2007 renewable fuel standard, EPA must release its requirements for the next year’s biofuel production by Nov. 30 of the preceding year. The agency missed the deadline, and it is unclear when the volume requirements will be set for next year.

According to API, the agency has indicated it will release the requirements through a direct final rule, which goes into effect if the agency does not receive a negative comment.

In the letter, the oil industry group urged EPA to “complete the process expeditiously and inform industry of the standards they are expected to meet prior to being held to those standards.”

API also requested that the agency release the biodiesel standards for 2014; under the Clean Air Act, the agency is required to release those 14 months before they go into effect.

Greco said that companies need time to prepare for the requirements.

“As we’re approaching the blendwall where companies will be mandated to blend more ethanol into gasoline than many of today’s cars can safely use,” he said, “it’s more important than ever that companies have enough time to find other ways to comply.”

EPA did not respond to a request for comment on when it will release the requirements.