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Here we go again, another lawsuit challenging RFS

The American Petroleum Institute (API) this week filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Circuit Court challenging EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements for 2013. The API also filed two lawsuits last year in March and July seeking to overturn the 2011 and 2012 standards.

“EPA has once again mandated significantly more cellulosic ethanol than is available in the marketplace,” said Harry Ng, vice president and general counsel, API. The EPA mandated that refiners use four million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2013, but only 142,000 gallons have been available for refiners to blend so far, the API reports.

“The 2013 mandates are an example of why EPA can’t be relied upon to implement the RFS effectively and in the interest of consumers,” Ng said. “Ultimately, Congress must fully repeal this unworkable and costly mandate.”

“This is another frivolous effort by API to abuse the court system in their slavish effort to repeal a public policy that is working for farmers, gasoline marketers, and consumers,” countered Bob Dinneen, president and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). He noted that stakeholders have been producing and blending at levels that will meet the 2013 requirements, adding, “This is a lawsuit in search of a problem.”

The RFA reported data from EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) which indicated that 8.65 billion renewable fuel (D6) RINs were generated through August. (Note: One RIN is issued for each gallon of corn starch-based ethanol produced). The RFA reported that this implies at least 13 billion D6 RINs will be generated for calendar year 2013. “When combined with the 2.0 billion D6 RINs carried forward from 2012, there will be approximately 15 billion D6 RINs available to comply with a requirement of 13.8 billion. In fact, there is likely to be a surplus of at least 1.2 billion D6 RINs carried in to 2014.”

The RFA also pointed to EMTS data indicating that 408 million advanced biofuel (D5) RINs were generated through August. The RFA suggested that this means the industry is on pace to generate 612 million D5 RINs. “When combined with surplus D5 RINs carried forward from 2012, and recognizing that surplus biodiesel (D4) RINs can be used in lieu of D5 RINs, there will be no problem in meeting the 2013 advanced biofuel requirement,” the RFA reported. 

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