The Environmental Protection Agency announced Nov. 21 that it will not finalize a 2014 rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard, citing the significant number of public comments and an inability to finalize the standards before the end of the year.
The agency also announced that the compliance deadline for the 2013 RFS will take place in 2015.
In a notice published in the Federal Register, EPA said, “The proposal has generated significant comment and controversy, particularly about how volumes should be set. Accordingly, we intend to take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015 prior to or in conjunction with action on the 2015 standards rule.”
The American Petroleum Institute (API) quickly issued a statement saying the administration’s decision to punt on this year's RFS standards is a clear demonstration to Congress that the RFS has become completely unworkable and must be repealed.
“The Renewable Fuel Standard was flawed from the beginning, horribly mismanaged, and is now broken,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said. “The only real solution is for Congress to scrap the program and let consumers, not the federal government, choose the best fuel to put in their tanks. Failure to repeal could put millions of motorists at risk of higher fuel costs, damaged engines, and costly repairs.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Kent.) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) issued a joint statement criticizing EPA's decision saying businesses have been waiting a year for clarity and this adds to their growing uncertainty and frustration.
"This unexpected announcement highlights that there are still significant challenges facing the RFS," the statement said.
In November 2013, EPA issued a proposed rule that would have lowered the blending requirements of the 2014 RFS to 15.21 billion gallons.
The reductions were seen as a recognition on the agency’s part that fuel consumption has declined over the last several years and that today’s fuel infrastructure is not able to handle ethanol blends greater than E-10.
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