The EPA on Friday vowed to address the ongoing uncertainty surrounding ethanol and the renewable fuel standard, saying it would finalize volume requirements for three years (2014, 2015 and 2016) by November 30 of this year.
“This schedule is consistent with our commitment to get the program back on track,” said Chris Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “All stakeholders want the RFS program back on the statutory timelines.”
According to the EPA, the agency will:
- Propose the volume requirements for 2015 and 2016 by June 1.
- Propose requirements for 2014 that match actual renewable fuel usage.
- Finalize those requirements for 2014, 2015, and 2016 by November 30.
The dates were released in conjunction with the announcement of a consent decree in a lawsuit filed in March by the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers against the EPA.
Listen to the EPA's announcement here:
The energy trade associations was frustrated by the EPA’s delay in setting the renewable fuel standard, which “forced refiners to guess at their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels,” according to a statement by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers after the announcement.
“While we are pleased that we were able to negotiate a deadline that requires EPA to issue the overdue RFS rules, we remain concerned with the government’s implementation of this broken program,” said General Counsel Rich Moskowitz. “EPA’s failure to comply with the statutory deadlines injures refiners and exacerbates the problems associated with this unreasonable government mandate.”
Peter Meyer, senior director of agricultural commodities at PIRA Energy Group in New York, agreed.
“The failure of the EPA to finalize the 2014 requirements four months into 2015 is astounding. This ‘moving target’ approach hurts everyone involved in the ethanol business and further entrenches major oil companies as anti-ethanol,” Meyer told AgWeb. “At this point, I do not see how the EPA can’t issue some sort of 2014 waiver in November when they’re supposed to finalize 2014 and 2015. This whole situation puts everyone involved with the production and distribution of ethanol at a disadvantage.”