A consent decree between the Environmental Protection Agency and biofuel trade association Growth Energy has been modified to give the Biden administration until the end of November to finalize its proposal for upcoming renewable fuels blending requirements.

Under a consent decree finalized earlier this year, EPA previously had until Nov. 16 to release its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023. That proposal was then to be finalized by June 14, 2023. But in a press release Friday, Growth Energy announced the proposal timeline has been extended to Nov. 30.

Emily Skor, Growth Energy’s CEO, said EPA requested the extension. The group agreed, but Skor noted it was “on the condition that November 30 will be the final deadline and there will be no further extensions of any deadline for action.”

EPA and Growth Energy notified the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia of the change in a legal filing Friday.

“While any delay is unfortunate, this shift in timing only impacts the proposal,” Skor said. “Importantly, the deadline for EPA’s final rule remains in place for June 14, 2023. Should the new proposal deadline pass without EPA action, Growth Energy stands ready to pursue further enforcement with the court.”

Sources tell Agri-Pulse the same EPA staff charged with meeting the timeline in the consent decree were also tasked with complying with a previous consent decree with Growth Energy that mandated deadlines for the release of 2020, 2021, and 2022 volumes. Those volumes were finalized in June, requiring an immediate shift by staff to the looming consent decree after another had just been satisfied.

The upcoming announcement is expected to include volumes beyond the 2023 compliance year, offering both the biofuel and oil industries a greater measure of certainty of the program’s future requirements. The release will also mark the first time EPA will set volumes using the rubric Congress rolled out in the legislation that created the RFS, rather than the prescriptive volume figures that expired in 2022.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said at a Growth Energy event in September that he wants the upcoming announcement to “continue to grow” the program.

“I believe that what we’re proposing will continue the progress that we’ve made up until this point,” Regan said at the time.

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