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API sues EPA over its 2013 biomass-based diesel minimum

The American Petroleum Institute sued the US Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 26 over its final rule raising the biomass-based diesel fuel minimum for 2013 to 1.28 billion gal. EPA increased the requirement by 28% from 2012’s 1 billion gal minimum on Sept. 14.

The 2013 biodiesel mandate is unworkable, API Group Downstream Director Bob Greco said. “In its final rule, EPA admitted the costs of increasing the biodiesel volume requirement for 2013 outweighed the benefits by as much as $425 million,” he said. “Furthermore, fraudulent biofuel credits that have plagued the system since last year and have yet to be resolved could inhibit industry’s ability to meet EPA’s higher biodiesel mandate.”

API also formally petitioned EPA to reconsider its decision. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers filed a similar petition on Nov. 20.

Greco said EPA has uncovered more than 140 million invalid renewable identification number fuel credits generated by three biodiesel companies, representing 5-12% percent of the US biodiesel market. “The fraudulent RIN problem is having, and will continue to have, significant impacts on the biodiesel marketplace that make it more difficult for companies to comply with EPA’s mandate,” he maintained.

In a Nov. 27 teleconference with reporters, Greco said the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, which includes the biodiesel requirements, should be eliminated because it is working badly and could force higher ethanol concentrations in gasoline which could hurt motor vehicles.

“Despite repeated and ongoing efforts to address the program’s shortcomings—through regulatory petitions, legal actions, and suggested solutions to implementation concerns—little has been done to make the program workable, and sometimes actions have been taken that make matters worse,” he declared.

“There is a fundamental flaw in the enabling statute [the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act] so the only way to fix it is to scrap the law and start over if Congress believes such a program is necessary,” Greco said.

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