Tricia Braid

Feb 06, 2014  |  Today's News

We here at IL Corn are pleased that EPA considered Congress’ intent when they defended their decision NOT to reduce renewable fuel volumes in 2013. We hope that EPA comes to the same decision as they finalize their rules for the 2014 volume numbers, moving the number for corn starch ethanol back to the Congressionally directed 14.4 billion gallons.

More than 1,000 of you wrote comments to EPA urging them to roll-back their proposed reduction for corn starch ethanol this year. You know it would mean a reduction of 500 million bushels of corn demand.

EPA Defends Decision Not to Reduce Renewable Fuel Volumes in 2013 Rule

By Andrew Childers | February 05, 2014 07:13PM ET

Monroe Energy LLC v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 13-1265, 2/4/14

Key Development: EPA tells D.C. Circuit it has broad statutory discretion to determine when to reduce annual renewable fuel volume requirements.

Potential Impact: EPA says reducing 2013 volume requirement would go against Congress's intention of promoting renewable fuel consumption.

(BNA) -- The Environmental Protection Agency defended its decision not to reduce the overall renewable fuel blending requirements for 2013 as a justifiable use of the agency's discretion under the Clean Air Act (Monroe Energy LLC v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 13-1265, 2/4/14).

The EPA told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a Feb. 4 brief that petroleum refiners and importers had sufficient capacity to meet the statutory requirement to blend 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels into the nation's fuel supply in 2013, even though the agency greatly reduced the cellulosic ethanol mandate.

The EPA said the Clean Air Act gives it “broad discretion” to determine when it will use its waiver authority to reduce the annual blending requirement.

The 2013 renewable fuel standard rule is being challenged by the petroleum industry, including the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and Monroe Energy LLC.

Reduction Called Unnecessary

The EPA in its 2013 renewable fuel standard rule had reduced the cellulosic ethanol blending requirement from the 1 billion gallons set out in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Pub. L. No. 110-140) to 6 million gallons. However, the agency chose not to reduce the overall requirement to blend 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels into the fuel supply (78 Fed Reg. 49,794; (152 DER A-15, 8/7/13).

The EPA said that it projected there would be sufficient production of other advanced biofuels, including biomass-based diesel, to meet the statutory requirement. Barring that, the EPA said that petroleum refiners and importers had stockpiled sufficient credits, known as renewable identification numbers (RINs), to cover any shortfall.

Reducing the annual blending requirement unnecessarily would go against Congress's intent to promote the use of renewable fuels, the EPA said.