API sues EPA over 2012 RFS cellulosic biofuels requirements

The American Petroleum Institute sued the US Environmental Protection Agency over what API considers unachievable cellulosic biofuels use requirements in the 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). API filed a petition for review on Mar. 12 in US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.

“EPA’s standard is divorced from reality and forces refiners to purchase credits for cellulosic fuels that do not exist,” said Bob Greco, API director of downstream and industry operations. “EPA’s unrealistic mandate is effectively a tax on manufacturers of gasoline that could ultimately burden consumers.”

Greco said the Clean Air Act requires EPA to determine the mandated volume of cellulosic biofuels each year at “the projected volume available.” EPA’s 2012 rule requires that refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel must use 8.65 million gal of cellulosic biofuels despite a complete lack of commercial supply of the fuel, Greco said.

“EPA must set the requirement at a realistic volume, but [it has] not,” he maintained. “This is regulatory absurdity.”

API supports a realistic and workable RFS and continues to recommend that EPA base their prediction on at least 2 months of actual cellulosic biofuel production in the current year when establishing the mandated volumes for the following year, according to Greco.

This approach would provide a more realistic assessment of potential future production rather than simply relying on the assertions of companies whose ability to produce the cellulosic biofuel volumes EPA hopes for is questionable, he indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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