- President Obama poised to grant clemency to nonviolent drug offenders: report
- Teen OK after riding in wheel well of Hawaii jet
- Kraft recalls 96K pounds of Oscar Mayer hot dogs over cheese error
- Boy Scouts boots church as host after gay leadership dispute
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new book raises 2016 presidential speculation
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Hillary Clinton won’t be first female president
- French president accuses Syria’s Assad of gassing his own citizens
- Jimmy Carter’s grandson makes gains in governor’s race in Georgia
- Yemen: Airstrike targets al Qaeda training camps
EPA cutting alternative fuels goal in bow to market reality
The Environmental Protection Agency bowed Tuesday to the limits of the U.S. market’s ability to work renewable fuels into the nation’s energy mix, disclosing it will set 2014 production goals for alternative motor fuels that are below the target set by law.
The agency said it has no plans to abandon the mandate to increase the use of biofuels as some oil industry critics have suggested, but its plan for reduced targets next year was a tacit acknowledgment the market is not ready yet to handle the production volumes for ethanol and other alternative fuels envisioned by Congress.
The EPA “does not currently foresee a scenario in which the market could consume enough ethanol” to meet the 2014 requirements set forth in the law, the agency said in a fact sheet that accompanied Tuesday’s announcement.
The decision was mixed news for both oil industry groups that oppose the renewable fuels standard, known as the RFS, and biofuel backers, which have argued the more ambitious targets could be met through higher blends of ethanol in gasoline that EPA has approved but which gas stations have yet to adopt.
EPA officials did not say how much they would seek to reduce the law’s 2014 target of 18.15 billion gallons of biofuels use in transportation fuels. They will unveil a proposal later this year for comment.
The EPA said it was responding to rising concerns about the market’s inability to absorb more corn-based ethanol at the common 10 percent blend, or “E10.”
The EPA said it would use its authority under the law to adjust biofuels requirements.
For this year, EPA kept the law’s 2013 combined mandate of 16.55 billion gallons in place, but made two smaller changes.
It lowered the requirement for cellulosic biofuels from non-corn feedstocks to 6 million gallons from a proposed 14 million gallons, in response to a court ruling that mandated it rely only on expected output from producers.
EPA also extended the 2013 compliance period by four additional months, through June 2014, to give refiners and importers more time to prepare for the following year.
Biofuels groups applauded the agency’s decision not to lower this year’s target, while opponents and critics said the EPA had heard their complaints that the renewable fuels mandate of 36 billion gallons of biofuels use by 2022 was becoming impractical.
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen said the reduction in the revised mandate showed EPA had the power to make the standard workable. “As in years past, the finalized annual requirements are a testament to the inherent flexibility that is the backbone of the RFS,” he said.
Advanced Biofuels Association President Mike McAdams said the EPA had effectively rejected oil industry claims that it was being forced to buy compliance credits for cellulosic fuels that were not being produced. “Today’s announcement of 6 million gallons of cellulosic fuels should put to an end the argument that refiners are being taxed to pay for phantom fuels,” he said.
American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard called the final 2013 rule a “missed opportunity” for the EPA to agree to waive the RFS this year. He said Congress should act on bills industry groups support that would end the renewable fuels standard altogether.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Building a D.C. memorial for an endless war bumps into regulations
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- No rush: Bob Goodlatte waits for heads to cool on heated legislation
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.