Chairman of US Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety welcomes EPA's finalized 2013 renewable energy targets, says announcement shows EPA is willing to work with refiners to address their concerns

WASHINGTON , August 6, 2013 (press release) – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance requirements for refineries and importers for the calendar year 2013. This rule includes volume targets and percentages for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuels and total renewable fuel. The rule reduces the targets of cellulosic and advanced biofuel based on current production, gives refineries and importers four more months to comply with the 2013 targets, and signals that the EPA will reduce targets in 2014 to address blendwall concerns.

“Today’s announcement sends a strong signal to our refineries that the EPA is listening to their concerns and working responsibly to address them,” said Senator Carper, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. “By giving refineries more time to comply to the standard, and by signaling that the EPA will likely address blendwall issues in the upcoming 2014 targets, I’m hopeful that today’s rule will settle the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) markets, which have been volatile over the past year and are a big concern for smaller refineries like the one in Delaware City. I encourage the EPA to move quickly on the 2014 targets and look forward to working with the agency to ensure we have a stable and transparent RIN market.”

Through the Renewable Fuel Standard authorized in the Clean Air Act, the EPA is responsible for regulations that ensure our nation’s transportation fuel supply is blended with a minimum amount of renewable fuels every year. In the Energy Policy Act of 2007, Congress greatly expanded the requirements of the RFS to ramp up toward a goal of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022 and increased demand for second generation biofuels, like cellulosic and biodiesel. In implementing the RFS, the EPA is required to issue the year’s volume targets for compliance prior to the beginning of the calendar year. Refineries and importers use these targets to determine how many Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits will need to be given to EPA to meet compliance requirements. Unfortunately, due to court delays and other issues, the EPA is just now finalizing the targets for 2013. As a result of compliance uncertainty and the industry moving ever closer to the E10 blendwall – 10 percent levels of ethanol – RIN prices have spiked from 10 cents to $1.50. The increase in RIN prices results in an increase in costs of RFS compliance – especially for small refineries that have reduced or no blending capabilities.

“I have long supported the goals of Renewable Fuel Standard – incentivizing environmentally-friendly options that move our country away from foreign fossil fuels, while safeguarding our energy security,” Senator Carper continued. “I also strongly believe that as we make investments in renewable fuels to lower our dependency on foreign oil, we must ensure that we don’t have an adverse impact on the environment or our economy. In the past two years, with the extreme drought and blendwall concerns, we have seen some unintended economic consequences of the Renewable Fuel Standard. I believe Congress gave the EPA the tools to address economic concerns resulting from the RFS, and I’m happy to see the EPA is finally signaling that the agency is willing to use these tools.”

For more information on the standards and regulations, please visit http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htm.

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