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May 15, 2015

Progress Toward Renewable Fuel Standard Blending Mandates


The White House is reviewing EPA's proposed rules to set the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements. The proposals are not currently publicly available, but EPA has committed to propose them by June 1, 2015, and to promulgate the 2014 and 2015 rules by November 30, 2015. EPA is required by law to issue the following year's RFS requirements by November 30 of the previous year.

The interagency review of the RFS rule is occurring amid complaints that delays in issuing the annual standard have negatively impacted the biofuels industry. As reported in last week's update, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) issued a white paper on May 4, 2015, stating that the uncertainty caused by the delays has resulted in an estimated $13.7 billion shortfall in investments to meet RFS goals, while jeopardizing 800,000 advanced biofuel industry jobs. EPA's commitment to propose the 2015 RFS rule by June 1, 2015, resulted from a lawsuit brought by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers over delays in issuing RFS requirements for 2014 and 2015.

Other groups have expressed concern about the future stability of the RFS rulemaking process. In fact, a group of biofuel industry leaders, including BIO, POET, DSM, and the Renewable Fuels Association, sent a letter to President Obama to request a high level White House meeting to discuss the upcoming RFS rules. The requested meeting would focus on renewable fuel volumes for 2014, 2015, and 2016, as well as the methodology for setting those numbers.

In addition, on May 7, 2015, a group of six Senators wrote a letter to EPA calling for the Agency to end delays in setting RFS requirements. The Senators asked for RFS requirements to be set through 2017 to prevent the uncertainty that has caused several biodiesel production facilities to fail while waiting for previous years' RFS requirements that never came.