Industry groups sue EPA for missing Renewable Fuel Standard deadlines – Platts, March 2015

Article Source: Platts

Washington (Platts)–19 Mar 2015/3:45 pm EDT/19:45 GMT

 

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute have sued the US Environmental Protection Agency for failure to issue the 2014 and 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, AFPM and API argued that EPA failed to meet its duties under the Clean Air Act to promulgate the 2014 RFS obligations by November 30, 2013 and the 2015 RFS obligations by November 30, 2014.

AFPM spokeswoman Rebecca Adler Thursday said in a statement that the groups filed the lawsuit when they “ran out of hope” that EPA would issue the RFS obligations in the near term.

An EPA spokeswoman, Liz Purchia, said Thursday the agency was reviewing the lawsuit and reaffirmed the EPA’s hopes to finalize Renewable Volume Obligations for 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the end of this year.

“The agency is committed to getting RFS back on track by finalizing volume standards for 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the end of this year, so we can provide for long-term growth of renewable fuels,” Purchia said in an email. “Biofuels are an important part of the president’s energy strategy, helping to curb our dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution, and drive innovation.”

An oil industry source Thursday said White House officials have told him of their intention to have RVOs for those three years finalized by the end of 2015.

In February, Chris Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said the agency plans to base its 2014 RFS on actual biofuels production and reiterated the plan to issue the 2014, 2015 and 2016 mandates this spring, which the EPA plans to finalize by year’s end.

In the lawsuit, AFPM and API argued that their members “have suffered and continue to suffer economic injury as a result of EPA’s failure to timely promulgate the final 2014 and 2015 RFS obligations,” as well as EPA not granting a waiver from 2014 requirements.

“EPA’s delays in taking those actions negates any ability for [AFPM’s and API’s] members to plan and, if necessary, adjust their operations to assure compliance with annual RFS regulatory requirements,” the lawsuit states.

The RFS requires annually increasing amounts of biofuels to be blended with the US transportation fuel supply, but gives the EPA some authority to adjust the volumes.

Decisions on the RFS have been delayed due to ethanol industry opposition to an earlier EPA proposal to cut the biofuels blending volumes for 2014. EPA had said the US fueling infrastructure was unable to handle significant quantities of gasoline blends with more than 10% ethanol – the so-called blend wall.

The originally proposed 2014 RFS, which called for 15.21 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended, down from 16.55 billion gallons in the 2013 rule, has since been tabled indefinitely.

–Herman Wang, herman.wang@platts.com
–Brian Scheid, brian.scheid@platts.com
–Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@platts.com

 

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