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April 16, 2015

EPA Announces Timeline For Renewable Fuel Standards


On April 10, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA)
with the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia a proposed
consent decree
to resolve litigation challenging the delay in
issuing Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) for 2014 and
2015 brought by the American Petroleum Institute
(API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical
Manufacturers (AFPM) against EPA. The consent
decree would establish EPA’s schedule for issuing a
RFS for 2014 and 2015. In its filing, EPA stated
that it would ask the court to approve the proposed
consent decree only after a 30-day public comment
period on the proposal, and provided the comments do
not “disclose facts or considerations which indicate
that the decree is inappropriate, improper,
inadequate, or inconsistent with the Clean Air Act’s
requirements.” The proposed consent decree has not
yet been published in the Federal Register.

Pursuant to the consent decree, EPA would propose
volume requirements for 2015 by June 1, 2015, issue
in final volume requirements for 2014 and 2015, and
resolve a pending waiver petition for 2014 by
November 30, 2015. The waiver was submitted by API
and AFPM to reduce the RFS blending requirements for
2014 to reflect the actual volumes of renewable
fuels that were used in 2014.

Outside of the scope of the consent decree, EPA is
also committing to the following: (1) proposing the
2016 RFS volume requirements by June 1, 2015, and
issuing them in final by November 30, 2015; (2)
proposing and promulgating the RFS biomass-based
diesel volume requirement for 2017 also by June 1,
, and November 30, 2015, respectively; and (3)
by June 1, 2015, re-proposing volume requirements
for 2014 to reflect the volumes of renewable fuel
that were actually used in 2014.

This action is significant because RFS stakeholders
have been waiting for EPA to promulgate the 2014 RFS
requirements, and to propose the 2015 requirements.
Regulatory action in this area will help restore
stability and confidence in the biofuels industry,
which has suffered from the 2014 and 2015 RFS
program delays.