EPA Revises Down Ethanol Blending Mandate

Agency grants API, AFPM petitions based on actual 2013 production

WASHINGTON -- Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised down the 2013 gasoline-blending mandate for cellulosic bio­fuel from six million gallons to 810,185 gallons. EPA (CSP Daily News / Convenience Store)

The 2014 mandate is set at 17 million gallons, said a report by The Wall Street Journal.

This action follows from the EPA having granted the American Petroleum Institute's (API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers' (AFPM) petitions for reconsideration of the 2013 cellulosic biofuel standard published on Aug. 15, 2013, the EPA said.

"On reconsideration … the Clean Air Act directs EPA to base the standard on the lower of 'projected' production of cellulosic fuel in 2013 or the cellulosic biofuel target established in the statute. Since data are available to show actual production volumes for 2013, EPA's 'projection' and direct final rule are based on actual cellulosic biofuel production in 2013. Specifically, we are calculating the volume of cellulosic biofuel to be used in 2013 by reference to the actual number of cellulosic biofuel renewable identification numbers (RINs) generated and reported through EPA's Monitored Transaction System (EMTS) in 2013," said the agency.

On Aug. 6, 2013 EPA finalized the annual standard for cellulosic biofuel as required under the Clean Air Act. EPA set the 2013 cellulosic biofuel percentage standard using the volume of cellulosic biofuel (six million ethanol-equivalent gallons) expected to be produced and used in the United States in 2013.

On Oct. 10-11, 2013, the EPA received petitions from the AFPM and API requesting that the EPA reconsider portions of the final rule entitled Regulation of Fuels & Fuel Additives: 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards.

After review, the EPA determined that the petitions for reconsideration with regard to the 2013 cellulosic biofuel standard had demonstrated the statutory criteria specified in the Clean Air Act for the reconsideration. Reconsideration was granted due to the reduced estimate of anticipated cellulosic biofuel production in 2013 that was announced shortly after the EPA signed its final rule by one of two companies expected to produce cellulosic biofuel in 2013.

On Jan. 23, 2014, the EPA administrator notified petitioners that their petitions, with regard to the 2013 cellulosic biofuel standard, had been granted and that the EPA would initiate a rulemaking to reconsider the standard.

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