The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its long-awaited proposed volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, as well as proposed volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2017. However, reactions from the biofuels sector and industry supporters have been mixed, with one disappointed U.S. senator saying, “It’s Christmas in May for Big Oil.”
The EPA, meanwhile, says its proposal would boost renewable fuel production and provide for ambitious-yet-responsible growth over multiple years, supporting future expansion of the biofuels industry.
“This proposal marks an important step forward in making sure the Renewable Fuel Standard program delivers on the Congressional intent to increase biofuel use, lower greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and improve energy security,” says Janet McCabe, the acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air. “We believe these proposed volume requirements will provide a strong incentive for continued investment and growth in biofuels.”
Under the RFS program, the EPA is responsible for developing and implementing regulations to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the U.S. contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel.
The agency says that after extensive outreach and dialogue with the agricultural community, biofuel producers, and the oil and gas industry, the EPA is proposing to establish 2014 standards at levels that reflect the actual amount of domestic biofuel use in that year, and standards for 2015 and 2016 (and 2017 for biodiesel) that increase steadily over time.