RFS rulemaking enters final stage

Final RFS expected out in a month, but could be as long as three months before levels are known.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sent the final Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review.

In an email statement, EPA said, “After an extensive public outreach process, we’ve received 340,000 comments that will help inform our final determinations. EPA will issue a final rulemaking after the interagency review process has been completed.”

EPA’s proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard, issued in November 2013, calls for nearly across-the-board cuts. By statute, the final rule was due by November 30, 2013. However, EPA has not met its statutory deadline since 2009. Last year’s rule was issued on August 6, 2013.

With the interagency review expected to take a minimum of 30 days, although EPA is entitled to 90 days for review, it is likely that the final rule will not be released until this fall. There is speculation that the final number may not be published until as late as November 2014, a full year behind schedule.

At this point, EPA should be proposing the 2015 RVO’s to be finalized by November 30, 2014. Instead, EPA will still be operating under the 2013 compliance year. EPA has already extending the compliance period for the 2013 RVO three times this year. If OMB takes the full 90 days to review the current regulations, EPA will be wrapping up the 2013 compliance year in February 2015.

EPA added, “Biofuels are an important part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, helping to curb our dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution, and drive innovation.”

Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy, urged that the 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.

“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,” Buis said.

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