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EPA agrees to issue final 2014 and 2015 RFS rules by 30 November

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Last month, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue long overdue rules implementing the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The annual RFS rules set the volumes of ethanol and biodiesel that must be blended into the U.S. transportation fuel supply. The parties filed a draft consent decree with the court that, once implemented, would resolve the case.

The consent decree obligates the Environmental Protection Agency to issue final RFS rules for 2014 and 2015 by 30 November of this year. EPA’s delay in issuing the rules, which in the case of 2014 is more than a year late, has forced refiners to guess at their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels, and resulted in unnecessary market uncertainty that ultimately harms the U.S. refining industry, biofuel producers, and consumers.

‘While we are pleased that we were able to negotiate a deadline that requires EPA to issue the overdue RFS rules, we remain concerned with the government’s implementation of this broken program’, AFPM General Counsel Rich Moskowitz said. EPA’s failure to comply with the statutory deadlines injures refiners and exacerbates the problems associated with this unreasonable government mandate.

‘We hope that this outcome will enable EPA to issue future RFS implementation rules in accordance with the Congressionally-mandated deadlines that were designed to provide refiners with some regulatory certainty and the ability to adjust their compliance strategies throughout the compliance period’, Moskowitz added.

Congress established the RFS under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded the program two years later under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 primarily to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Ten years later, the United States is the largest producer of oil and natural gas and the initial premise of the RFS is no longer valid. That fact, coupled with unrealistic mandates and increasing evidence of ethanol’s harmful impact on the environment, provide more than sufficient justification for Congress to repeal the RFS.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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