The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced March 10 that it has settled a lawsuit with the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers over its failure to meet Congressionally mandated Renewable Fuel Standard deadlines.
Under the consent decree, EPA has agreed to issue its proposed RFS volume requirements for 2015 by June 1, and a final rule establishing the volumes for 2014 and 2015 by Nov. 30.
“This schedule is consistent with EPA’s commitment to get the RFS program back on track, while providing certainty to renewable fuels markets and promoting the long-term growth of renewable fuels,” EPA said in a statement.
EPA said it will finalize the standards for 2016 this year, although the agency is not required to do so by the consent decree. The agency also said it will propose and finalize the RFS biomass-based diesel volume requirement for 2017 on the same schedule and re-propose volume requirements for 2014 that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.
API General Counsel Stacy Linden said the industry group hoped the agreement would help get the RFS back on track, but that the only long-term solution is for Congress to repeal the program.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set the annual RFS ethanol mandates by Nov. 30 of each year for the following year. EPA issued the 2013 requirements eight months late and has yet to issue the 2014 or 2015 requirements.
EPA in November delayed finalizing a 2014 rule for the RFS citing the significant number of public comments on the rule and an inability to finalize the standards before the end of the year. At that time, the agency also announced that the compliance deadline for the 2013 RFS would take place in 2015.
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