WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2014 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today sent the proposed final rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) volume obligations to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), clearing another hurdle for a final rule to be released.
The rule would set 2014 blending requirements for blending of renewable fuels and has been in the works since a draft rule was released in November 2013. That rule proposed lowering blending requirements to 15.21 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel, which is below the 18.15 billion gallons called for by Congress.
In an email to Agri-Pulse, an EPA spokesperson confirmed the 2014 final standards were “submitted for interagency review.”
“Biofuels are an important part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, helping to curb our dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution, and drive innovation,” the spokesperson said. “After an extensive public outreach process, we’ve received 340,000 comments that will help inform our final determinations.”
Those public comments came after blending volumes were decreased in several categories. In the draft rule, EPA proposed volumes of 17 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel, 2.2 billion of advanced biofuels, and 15.21 gallons of renewable fuels. In total, the agency proposed 9.2 percent of fuels used in 2014 be from renewable sources.
National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel said she is happy to see progress and will continue to push the administration to finalize a rule as quickly as possible.
“The original EPA proposal and continued delays have severely disrupted the U.S. biodiesel industry this year,” Steckel said in a statement calling for an increase in the lowered biodiesel volumes in EPA’s proposal. “We can begin to reverse that damage with a meaningful increase in the biodiesel volume that is finalized as quickly as possible so that producers can ramp up production in a timely fashion.”
Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), said he is hopeful the rule will reflect the administration’s belief in renewable fuels.
“While we have not seen the rule, we hold strong in our belief that EPA and OMB will fulfill President Obama’s commitment to biofuels,” Dinneen said. “This decision is about more than targets and gallons, it is about a rationale that places highest importance on the long term strength of this country and not the bottom line of oil companies.”
EPA will issue the final 2014 RFS rule after an interagency review from OMB.
“EPA supports the energy independence and security goals that congress envisioned when establishing the RFS program,” an EPA spokesperson said. “The Agency’s overarching goal is to put the RFS program on a path that supports continued growth in renewable fuels over time.”
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