AFPM asks EPA to reconsider its 2013 biomass-based diesel decision

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its final rule increasing the biomass-based diesel minimum for 2013. EPA raised the amount to 1.28 billion gal from 1 billion gal on Sept. 14.

In its Nov. 20 petition, AFPM strongly urged EPA to reconsider its decision to increase the biomass-based diesel volumes by 28% starting next year.

Since the federal environmental regulator initially issued the rule, a number of factors have surfaced that could result in unintended consequences that will adversely affect both the domestic refining industry and US consumers, AFPM said.

“EPA’s own data estimates that the cost of increasing the biomass-based diesel mandate will add $253-381 million to consumers’ transportation fuel bill in 2013,” AFPM Pres. Charles T. Drevna said. “The US economy is still struggling, and this increase will hurt the millions who rely on transportation fuels.”

AFPM said, contrary to EPA’s research, evidence is strong that an increase in the 2013 volume will not affect US energy security as the US currently is a net diesel exporter.

In the category of unintended consequences, EPA’s decision would curtail investment in advanced biofuels that complete with biodiesel and will increase carbon emissions in 2013 under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, AFPM added.

It said the increase also could have a negative impact on the price and supply of agricultural commodities, since additional biodiesel feedstocks, such as soybean oil, would be required under the rule.

“Before increasing the 2013 volume, EPA must resolve the pervasive problem that exists in the biodiesel market of Renewable Identification Number (RIN) fraud,” Drevna said. “To date, over 140 million fraudulent RINs have been sold to unsuspecting refiners concerned with meeting their RFS obligations. That number, and the costs associated with the fraud, will grow as investigations of additional biodiesel producers continue today.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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