EPA finalizes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency's Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2).

The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

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Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91 percent)

Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21 percent)

Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006 percent)

Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23 percent)

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The 2007 energy law mandated the use of 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2012, but with so little actual production, the EPA proposed to reduce the cellulosic target for 2012 to a range of 3.5 to 12.9 million gallons.

Last spring EPA proposed a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013. EISA specifies a one billion gallon minimum volume requirement for that category for 2013 and beyond, but enables EPA to increase the volume requirement after consideration of a variety of environmental, market, and energy-related factors. EPA is continuing to evaluate the many comments from stakeholders on the proposed biomass based diesel volume for 2013 and will take final action next year.

The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) President Charles T. Drevna said the EPA's advanced biofuels requirements are unrealistic, impractical and bad for consumers.   After the EPA announced 2012 mandated production volumes for advanced biofuels, he issued a statement regarding the new rule as a reminder that the Renewable Fuel Standard needs to be modified. He added that the EPA failed to make its regulations based on sound science. 

“Once again, refiners are being ordered to use a substance that is not being produced in commercial quantities - cellulosic ethanol - and are being required to pay millions of dollars for failing to use this non-existent substance,” he said. “This makes no sense.” 

“Government mandates like EPA's new regulations calling for enormous increases in the annual production of advanced biofuels in the United States are unrealistic and impractical, and not in the best interest of American consumers,” Drevna said. 


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