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EPA postpones finalizing 2014 renewable volume obligations in RFS until 2015

Note: This is an updated version of a blog originally posted on the EPA announcement from Friday Nov. 21.

The EPA is postponing finalization of the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) until next year.

Instead, the Agency said it will set the final 2014 volume standard in 2015, and try to get back on schedule in proposing the 2015 and 2016 blending volumes, reported the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).

The proposed rule, issued in November 2013, generated a significant number of comments, particularly on the proposal’s ability to ensure continued progress toward achieving the law’s renewable fuel targets. Due to the delay in finalizing the standards for 2014, and given ongoing consideration of the issues presented by the commenters, the agency intends to take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015. EPA looks to getting back on the annual statutory timeline by addressing 2014, 2015 and 2016 standards in the next calendar year.  

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers  (AFPM) filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA for failure to issue the 2014 RFS.  “EPA’s failure to comply with RFS deadlines has caused additional harm to obligated parties, including AFPM members. We urge EPA to take prompt action to promulgate the 2014 standards,” said AFPM President Charles T. Drevna. “The fact that EPA proposed the 2014 standards over a year ago, and now 2014 is almost over, is another reason why Congress needs to step in and repeal or significantly reform this badly broken program.”

Brian Jennings, executive vice president, ACE, expects that the oil industry will only increase its efforts to press Congress for repeal of the RFS. Therefore, ACE and its ethanol producer members will continue to engage with the Obama administration and the new Congress to use their authority to hold the oil industry responsible for giving consumers a choice at the fuel pump. While the 2014 mid-term election results have changed the makeup of the Senate and House, Jennings points out that ethanol has always enjoyed bi-partisan support.

ACE members recently held strategic planning meetings where they addressed short- and long-term goals, including energy policy and working with more fuel retailers to get E15 and E85 in more locations throughout the country.

Jennings viewed the EPA’s decision as an important short term victory for the biofuels industry. “We had been bracing for the EPA to completely rewrite the RFS. We were pleasantly surprised by the announcement.”

Read more blogs from Lynn Grooms on the biofuels industry.

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