Final Rule on 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard Volume Submitted to OMBSat, 23 Aug 2014 14:44:06 CDT
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Friday that the final rule establishing the 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) volume has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of interagency review, the final step in the process before the final rule is published.
In November of last year, EPA proposed a rule that set the total biofuels volume for 2014 at 15.21 billion gallons, of which 13.1 billion gallons would be derived from grain-based ethanol production. This is a reduction of 1.3 billion gallons from the statutory requirement of 14.4 billion gallons of grain-based ethanol production.
According to EPA, the agency received 340,000 comments on the proposed rule. Many of the comments opposed the reduction, and there is a great deal of speculation that EPA may require a smaller reduction in the final rule. However, the livestock industry generally supported the rule, supporting the reduction in the RFS as an appropriate step.
The OMB review could take up to 90-days, and most political observers believe that the rule’s contents will not be revealed until after the November 4 midterm elections.
Several groups that are boosters of biodiesel and ethanol commented on the move to submit the proposal to the OMB. Here are some of those comments:
The National Biodiesel Board released the following statement from Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel today after the EPA sent the proposed final rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review:
“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. 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.”
Biodiesel is made from a wide variety of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats. It is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Produced in nearly every state in the country, the industry has exceeded RFS requirements in every year of the program, reaching a record U.S. market of nearly 1.8 billion gallons and supporting more than 62,000 jobs nationwide.
In a draft RFS rule released in November, the EPA proposed holding biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons – a sharp drop from last year’s actual production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. Biodiesel producers around the country have warned that such a proposal will cause severe contraction in the industry. A nationwide survey of producers conducted by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) in April found that more than half have already idled a plant this year and 78 percent have reduced production from last year. Nearly two-thirds – 66 percent – have already laid off employees or anticipate doing so.
After confirmation that the 2014 final rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy, released the following statement:
“I am pleased to hear that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sent the final 2014 RVO numbers to OMB for review.
“While OMB has up to 90 days to review this rule, what is most important is the content of the final rule. The renewable fuels industry has provided extensive comments highlighting how the proposed reduction in the 2014 RVO’s would be detrimental to the biofuels industry, the American consumer and our environment. I hope that after reviewing these thorough comments, they will finalize a rule that moves our nation forward on the adoption of renewable fuels, not backwards.
“Ultimately, this final rule should promote the policy goals of the RFS and call for an increase in the production of renewable fuels, so we can continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs at home that cannot be outsourced and mitigate climate change, while we improve our environment. Furthermore, it is critical we have the support of the Administration to end the monopoly oil companies have on the liquid fuels marketplace and finally provide consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.”
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