EPA has not yet submitted its final rule on 2014 ethanol mandates to the White House for review, but agency has submitted different rule related to biofuel blending program, says White House spokesperson

WASHINGTON , April 30, 2014 () – A spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said on Wednesday that the agency is not yet reviewing a final rule on 2014 biofuel blending requirements, quashing rumors the rule has been submitted for White House review.

The agency in charge of the rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has instead submitted a different rule related to the biofuel blending program, the spokesman said. That rule, called "RFS Pathways II and Amendments to the Renewable Fuel Standard," was submitted on Monday, according to the OMB website. It does not include the 2014 biofuel blending requirements.

The rule's submission had fueled rumors among traders that the EPA had finalized its much-awaited blending requirements for 2014. The final rule will dictate how much ethanol refiners must blend into their gasoline output in 2014.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), an oil industry lobbying group, has been pushing for mandated ethanol blending requirements at under 10 percent of overall gasoline demand.

In a letter to the agency on Tuesday, the API urged the EPA to aim for 9.7 percent. Refiners say they cannot safely blend more than 10 percent ethanol into gasoline without risking damage to boat engines and older cars. They call the 10 percent threshhold the ethanol "blend wall."

“Given the uncertainties in gasoline demand projections, a 9.7 percent ethanol mandate represents the minimum buffer needed to protect consumers against economic harm and safety concerns associated with the ethanol blend wall,” Bob Greco, the API's downstream group director, said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday

Greco said he expects the EPA's final blending requirements could "go to the OMB in a matter of days if not a week" and said it is a "good assumption" that the API will schedule meetings with the White House to discuss the rules.

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