EPA Proposes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards

Cindy Zimmerman

Cellulosic ethanol targets were reduced while biodiesel was increased under the latest standards proposed by the federal government for the Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories under the RFS2 based on the annual renewable fuel volume targets. EPA once again lowered the target for cellulosic ethanol, which was set at 500 million gallons in 2012, to somewhere between 3.45 and 12.9 million gallons. The agency “remains optimistic that the commercial availability of cellulosic biofuel will continue to grow in the years ahead” and so does the Advanced Ethanol Council, provided there is stable policy to allow the industry to invest in technology to make it possible.

“The most immediate term solution to this problem is to enact meaningful and long-term tax incentives to spur construction of the first-commercial advanced biofuel plants, in much the same way that Congress has stood behind oil and gas production for nearly 100 years,” said AEC Executive Director Brooke Coleman. “The cellulosic and advanced ethanol industry will hit the mark and achieve the goals of the RFS if Congress aligns our tax code with the RFS and sends a clear message to the marketplace that advanced biofuels will be a cornerstone of a broader strategy to create jobs and reduce oil dependence.”

EPA is also proposing to increase the volume requirement for biomass-based diesel from 800 million gallons this year to 1 billion gallons in 2012 and almost 1.3 billion gallons in 2013. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) notes that since biodiesel qualifies as an advanced biofuel it is also eligible to exceed the biomass-based diesel targets and help meet general advanced biofuels requirements under the program. “As America’s first advanced biofuel being produced on a commercial scale nationwide, we have done extensive research to assess the various feedstocks that are used to make biodiesel, including agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil, animal fats, algae and camelina,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe said. “We are confident we can meet these targets and we anticipate that we will likely exceed them.”

The EPA proposes to maintain the 2012 advanced biofuel requirements under the RFS at 2 billion gallons as federal law requires. The mandate for convention renewable biofuel also remained consistent with the statute at 13.2 billion gallons.

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