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Biofuel producers fear impact of RFS revisions

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

33 advanced biofuel companies, led by the Advanced Ethanol Council and Biotechnology Industry Organisation, have sent a letter to President Barack Obama in expression of industry concern about a proposed rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In the letter, the companies highlight their concerns about how the current proposals will impact the biofuel production industry.

The groups wrote: ‘To reduce the 2014 blending requirements and volumes in future years, EPA [US Environmental Protection Agency] is proposing to use its general waiver authority based on ‘inadequate domestic supply’. But EPA is putting forward a novel interpretation of the word ‘supply’ to mean the ability of current infrastructure to deliver renewable fuel blends to consumers, instead of the available supply of renewable fuel to obligated parties.

‘We believe that this new interpretation is inconsistent with the plain meaning of the stature and its legislative history. But the bigger issue is that this interpretation has the practical effect of handing the future trajectory of the RFS to the oil industry by virtue of the fact that the oil industry itself controls the distribution of fuel to consumers.

‘The threat that oil companies could simply lie down on the RFS to avoid obligations vastly increases supply chain risk for new projects, as opposed to those already given ground. Given that more than 90% of future blend obligations under the RFS are for advanced biofuels, the Administration’s new methodology would actually scuttle US investment in advanced, low carbon biofuels in direct conflict with the Climate Action Plan and your Administration’s goals with regard to reducing oil dependence and promoting advanced biorefineries’.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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