The Environmental Protection Agency will voluntarily reconsider the cellulosic ethanol blending requirement for 2011, the agency told a federal appellate court in an April 3 motion (American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 12-1249, 4/3/13).
It is “unlikely that upon reevaluation EPA would simply re-affirm the 2011 cellulosic biofuel standard without further analysis or explanation” after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the blending requirement for 2012, the agency said in its unopposed motion for a voluntary remand.
EPA asked the D.C. Circuit to hold petroleum industry lawsuits challenging the renewable fuel standard requirement to blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel into their fuels in 2011 during the reconsideration process.
The American Fuels & Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute, and Western States Petroleum Association sued EPA in 2012 after the agency denied their petitions to reconsider the cellulosic ethanol blending requirement after none of the fuel was produced that year.
EPA's request came after the D.C. Circuit vacated the blending requirement for 2012 as “in excess of the agency's statutory authority” because the amount of cellulosic ethanol required substantially exceeded the amount produced that year (American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 12-1139, 1/25/13; 44 ER 276, 2/1/13).
“When EPA established the 2011 cellulosic biofuel standard that is at issue in this case, EPA used basically the same method for projecting cellulosic biofuel production as EPA used when it established the 2012 standard,” the agency said.
API spokesman Carlton Carroll told BNA April 4 that EPA's request is a “positive move.”
“However, we want to see the EPA vacate the 2011 rule and hope that decision is made soon,” he said.
Petroleum refiners and importers were required to purchase credits from EPA to satisfy their renewable fuel standard requirements because cellulosic ethanol was not being produced in 2011.
The Biofuel Producers Coordinating Council, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and other ethanol producers said in an April 5 statement that the renewable fuel standard has been vital to establishing the cellulosic ethanol industry. However, they said reconsidering the 2011 standard would have little impact on members' operations.
“Advanced biofuel companies across the United States have invested in technology development and construction of first-of-a-kind commercial scale refineries for cellulosic and other advanced biofuels,” the ethanol groups said. “EPA's implementation of the court order does not impact the industry's progress in developing technologies that reduce dependence on foreign oil and contribute to a cleaner environment.”
EPA has proposed requiring 16.55 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2013, a more than 60 percent increase compared to 2012 levels as the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production facilities begin operation (44 ER 274, 2/1/13).
EPA's motion for voluntary remand is available at http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=smiy-96fppp.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).