EPA Proposal Pulls the Rug Out from Underneath the Growing Advanced Biofuels Industry
Friday, November 15, 2013
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a draft proposal on November 15, 2013 proposing next year’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) target for advanced biofuels at 2.2 billion gallons, with a range from as low as 2.0 billion gallons to 2.51 billion gallons. A 2.2 billion gallon target represents a 20-percent cut from the 2013 level and a disheartening 1.55-billion-gallon reduction from the volume contemplated by statute. In response, the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) issued the following statement, which should be attributed to Michael McAdams, ABFA President.
If EPA sticks with 2.2 billion gallons in the final rule, the agency will pull the rug out from underneath the growing advanced biofuels industry. Innovative companies have responded to the challenge of producing cleaner, low-carbon fuels by investing a collective $14 billion in the development of advanced and cellulosic biofuels. However, today’s proposal reveals that EPA might still deliver a devastating blow to this nascent sector and a victory for the oil industry by cutting the volume requirements for advanced biofuels. Such a move will chill future investments necessary to produce large-scale quantities of renewable fuels that cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to gasoline.
RFS compliance is tracked by assigning renewable identification numbers (or RINs) to each ethanol-equivalent gallon of biofuel. ABFA conservatively estimates that our industry will generate at least 3.5 billion RINs in 2013 that qualify as advanced biofuels, exceeding this year’s target of 2.75 billion advanced RINs by at least 750 million gallons. To continue to support new advanced biofuel production, EPA should set the 2014 advanced biofuel target at 3.75 billion gallons as contemplated by statute. This target can be met and exceeded by current production plus carry-over RINs.
Anything less than requiring 3.75 billion gallons from advanced biofuels in 2014 would be a step backwards from the Obama administration’s commitment to address climate change.
ABFA looks forward to submitting official comments on this proposal. Our top priority will remain ensuring the future viability of the advanced biofuels industry, so it can help America transition to a low-carbon economy with enhanced energy security by building better fuels. Now more than ever, all our options remain open – including in the courts and on Capitol Hill – as we pursue that goal.
The Advanced Biofuels Association represents nearly 50 member companies who produce advanced and cellulosic biofuels, as well as renewable feedstocks. Find more information at www.AdvancedBiofuelsAssociation, and follow the conversation on Twitter at @BetterFuels.