The Environmental Protection Agency plans to extend the public comment period for the proposed rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard for an additional 60 days until September 25, 2009. A public notice dated Tuesday was posted on scribd.com and may be published in the Federal Register this week. However, no notice has yet been posted on the EPA website and the agency has not sent out a news release about the action.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) expressed concerns about the extension during his weekly telephone press conference with agricultural reporters. “There’s no doubt that the issue that EPA is dealing with is very complex, so I suppose we ought to have some appreciation for the extra time they’re taking,” Grassley said. “However, the delays threaten the viability of the biodiesel industry which needs the rule to set the level that must be used in 2010 for the RFS. It’s important that the rule gets finished to provide market certainty because biodiesel is not very good shape.”
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) also expressed concern about the extension, which will mean a delay in implementation of the rule. In a statement, NBB officials said, “It is important to note that RFS-2 was supposed to be in place at the beginning of this year, and extension of the comment period could further delay the implementation of the program, This will provide additional hardship to the U.S. biodiesel industry.”
The ethanol industry has not yet released any official comment on the notice of extension.