The EPA has sent the proposed final rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review, the National Biodiesel Board said Friday.
The EPA is nearly nine months behind the Nov. 30 deadline to reveal the final 2014 RFS volumes. OMB now has 90 days to review the rule.
"We're pleased to see the process moving forward and hope the final rule will show that this Administration is standing behind our national goals for clean, domestic fuels that strengthen our economy and national security. We also continue to urge the Administration to finalize the rule as quickly as possible," NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel said in a statement.
The RFS mandates the amount of ethanol that is to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year. Proposed volumes for the 2014 RFS caused a stir when they were released last year, due to hefty changes that would decrease mandated biofuel volumes.
Thousands of comments were fielded on the proposal up to January, 2014, after which point EPA estimated a final proposal would be out by the end of Spring. In July, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency would need more time to address concerns over how the EPA has opted to adjust the volumes and whether the proposed adjustments meet the agency's goal of encouraging biofuels' use.
"We're just taking the time we need to make sure that the Renewable Fuel Standard addresses those issues as best we can," McCarthy said in a press call July 8. "The administration continues to have a strong commitment to biofuels – we want to make sure that the final [RFS] clearly reflects that interest."
Steckel on Friday said the original EPA proposal and continued delays have "severely disrupted" the U.S. biodiesel industry this year.
"We can begin to reverse that damage with a meaningful increase in the biodiesel volume that is finalized as quickly as possible so that producers can ramp up production in a timely fashion," she said.
Biodiesel and ethanol producers fear the EPA's lower proposal could cost the U.S. jobs and continued development in the biofuels industry.
Supporters of the rollback, however, say continuously mandating larger amounts of biofuels in the RFS will leave the market with more biofuels than can be absorbed by the existing E10 market.