WASHINGTON, June 11, 2014 – The EPA proposal to reduce biofuel blending requirements this year under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is not expected to be forwarded to the White House for review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) until next month, stakeholder sources say.
Agency officials say the review of more than 300,000 public comments on the proposal and the complexity of the biofuels market has made developing the RFS 2014 rule more time-consuming than anticipated. The proposal was first thought to be headed to OMB at the end of May, then early June, and then June 22. Now EPA officials will only say the proposal will be passed on to the White House “shortly.”
As a result of the delay in the 2014 rule, EPA says it will hold off on enforcing its compliance deadline for the 2013 RFS until Sept. 30.
The deadline for refiners and other obligated parties to comply with any year’s RFS blending requirements usually falls on June 30 of the following year. But the agency acknowledges that
the current delay in issuing this year’s mandate necessitates giving refiners a break in meeting the 2013 mandate, which requires 16.55 billion gallons of biofuels, including 2.75 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, be blended into U.S. transportation fuels.
EPA officials say that once the 2014 standard is issued, refiners can then plan on how many 2013 Renewable Identification Numbers – credits called RINs used to show compliance with the RFS – can be carried over into this year.
Delaying the 2013 compliance deadline “will allow the EPA time to complete its work on the 2014 [proposed rule] in a thorough manner, while also providing time between the expected date of finalizing that rule and the new 2013 compliance deadline which will be helpful to obligated parties,” the agency said in a notice to be published in the Federal Register.
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