Advanced Biofuel Orgs Set Record Straight

Joanna Schroeder

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is currently engaging in an all-out attack on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the advanced biofuel industry is continuing to fight back. Last month, the Court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the cellulosic biofuels obligations. In response, API is pressuring the EPA to actually zero out the 2012 obligation, according to a letter sent to EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy.

feb 2013 gas prices copy Photo Greg BollThis is in odds with what API send in its brief to the Court, that the number should not be zero. “EPA’s projection should not be unrealistically low, but it also may not be unrealistically high.” API also claimed to the Court that its members paid $17 million in compliance costs for the RFS, when public records available at the time showed the true cost to be a fraction of that amount.

In response to the letter, Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) said the cellulosic biofuel industry has facilities under construction or starting up in 20 states. “API’s strategy on the RFS is simple: create as much uncertainty and doubt around the program as possible to scare off investors from advanced biofuels. They have lost 10 percent of their market share to domestically produced renewable fuels to date, and they are not going to let the truth stand in the way of their efforts to short-circuit this incredibly successful program.”

According to a statement from the biofuels industry, API is decrying the new EPA proposal to blend 14 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels in 2013, saying the fuel does not exist. In reality, the industry says, EPA’s targets are based on production capacities of plants that are already built. The advanced biofuel industry is asking the EPA to follow the Court’s direction and remain consistent in its implementation of the program’s rules.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Industrial & Environmental Section, added, “API is trying to re-litigate in the press the issues it lost in court. The Court recognized EPA’s authority to administer the rules for the RFS, and EPA should reject this attempt to spin that decision.”

“It is interesting that just as reputable companies such as DuPont, INEOS, POET-DSM, and Abengoa are actually getting steel in the ground and building commercial cellulosic biorefineries, API is turning on the crocodile tears and ramping up gross distortions in a desperate and foolish effort to derail American biotech innovation for new and cleaner transportation fuels. They want to strangle the infant cellulosic biofuel industry in the cradle in order to keep Americans captive consumers of high-priced foreign oil,” concluded Erickson.

advanced biofuels, AEC, BIO, RFS