API to EPA: Expect suit if 2014 renewable fuel quotas are tardy

The American Petroleum Institute notified the US Environmental Protection Agency that it might sue if the federal environmental regulator fails to issue biomass-based diesel and renewable fuel requirements for 2014 on time.

The federal Clean Air Act requires EPA set biomass-based diesel quotas no later than 14 months before the requirement would apply, Harry M. Ng, API’s vice-president and general counsel, said in an Oct. 17 letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The statutory deadline for EPA to set that deadline for 2014 was Nov. 1, 2012, he noted.

The CAA also mandates EPA set renewable fuel standards for the following year no later than Nov. 30, Ng continued. “EPA has not yet issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for the 2014 RFS, and API therefore anticipates that EPA will not issue the final 2014 RFS in advance of the Nov. 30, 2013, statutory deadline,” he said.

The agency has repeatedly been late issuing such standards, Ng said. “Obligated parties need this information ahead of the compliance year—as the CAA clearly requires EPA to do—to make operational, logistics, and investment decisions,” he noted.

“Furthermore, the uncertainties created by the ethanol blendwall are enormous, and EPA is only adding to the uncertainty with retroactive rules,” Ng continued. “EPA needs to move as quickly as possible to issue a final 2014 RFS.” He said API would consider its legal options, including suing in US District Court, after 60 days.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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