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U.S. EPA Finalizes Its RFS Volumes Rule

December 1, 2015 in Biodiesel, Biofuels, Regulations by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

‘The Biofuel Industry Is an Incredible American Success Story’

The U.S. EPA released the final volume requirements under its Renewable Fuel Standard program for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 this week, as well as final volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014 to 2017.

President Obama Paris

President Obama at this week’s United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris

“This rule finalizes higher volumes of renewable fuel than the levels EPA proposed in June, boosting renewable production and providing support for robust, achievable growth of the biofuels industry,” the agency said Monday.

“With final standards in place for the year ahead, biofuel producers and blenders are in a better position to plan and invest – putting the market on stable ground and supporting further growth and innovation in the renewable fuels industry.”

‘Volumes that Go Beyond Historic Levels’

The National Biodiesel Board expressed general satisfaction with the RFS rule, while backers of cellulosic ethanol, also referred to as a second-generation biofuel, were disappointed.

“The biofuel industry is an incredible American success story, and the RFS program has been an important driver of that success – cutting carbon pollution, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and sparking rural economic development,” Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said in a release.

“As Congress intended, EPA is establishing volumes that go beyond historic levels and grow the amount of biofuel in the market over time. Our standards provide for ambitious, achievable growth,” she said.

‘A Good Rule,’ Says NBB

According to the EPA, the final 2016 standard for cellulosic biofuel is nearly 200 million gallons, or seven times more than the market produced in 2014. The final 2016 standard for advanced biofuel is nearly 1 billion gallons, or 35%, higher than the actual 2014 volumes.

Biodiesel standards grow steadily over the next several years, increasing every year to reach 2 billion gallons by 2017.

The cellulosic ethanol industry feels that the U.S. EPA could have done more.

The cellulosic ethanol industry feels that the U.S. EPA could have done more.

“It is a good rule,” National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe said in a release. “It may not be all we had hoped for but it will go a long way toward getting the U.S. biodiesel industry growing again and reducing our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.”

The Renewable Fuels Association Is Not Impressed

The Renewable Fuels Association differs.

“EPA’s decision,” RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen said in his association’s response, “turns our nation’s most successful energy policy on its head.

Bob Dinneen

Bob Dinneen

“When EPA released its proposed RFS rule in May, the agency claimed it was attempting to get the program back on track,” Dineen said. “Today’s decision, however, fails to do that. It will deepen uncertainty in the marketplace and thus chill investment in second-generation biofuels.

“Unlike Big Oil, the ethanol industry does not receive billions in tax subsidies and the RFS is our only means of accessing a marketplace that is overwhelmingly and unfairly dominated by the petroleum industry.

“Today’s decision,” Dineen said, “will severely cripple the program’s ability to incentivize infrastructure investments that are crucial to break through the so-called blend wall and create a larger market for all biofuels.”

Source: U.S. EPA with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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