OPIS Biofuels Headlines

November 20, 2014
Sources: Possible EPA Announcement Friday on 2014 RFS

On Thursday the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reached its 90-day review deadline of the final 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS2) rule, sparking rumors Thursday evening that an EPA announcement could be made Friday on possibly withdrawing the rule.

EPA proposed nearly across-the-board cuts in its 2014 RFS proposal and on Aug. 22, EPA sent the final RFS targets to OMB for interagency review, setting off the 90-day review period.

Multiple sources in the petroleum and biofuels industries tell OPIS that OMB has not completed its review and as a result, EPA may withdraw the rule and instead make 2014 a reporting year--which, according to one industry source, would leave the industry without guidance for this year's volumes.

A second industry source also said it was possible that EPA could combine the 2015 and 2016 volumes in a new proposal.

However, sources confirmed the fluidity of EPA's options and possible announcement made on Friday.

When reached Thursday evening, EPA declined to comment on the story.

As a third industry source told OPIS, "EPA and White House feel they have to put something out because they have missed yet another deadline. EPA will likely acknowledge their tardiness, but will probably state that no 2014 volumes are forthcoming by the end of the year. It's possible that EPA will withdraw the 2014 proposal to be resubmitted at a later date," the source added.

If Friday's announcement occurs, it would cap off a nearly year-long guessing game of when the rule would be finalized--something EPA was statutorily required to do by Nov. 30, 2013. EPA didn't propose its 2014 RFS rule until November 2013 and then initially said it would be completed by February, but that timeline then slipped to "by summer." Summer came and went, and EPA provided no further guidance, only saying it wanted to have the final rule out "soon," but wanted to make sure it got the rule right.

By fall, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged that the agency planned to upwardly revise some of the final 2014 targets to account for an increase in gasoline usage, but did not provide any guidance on when the rule would come out. The prevailing belief was that the administration wanted to wait until after the November midterm elections before releasing the final rule, in an effort to help Democratic Midwestern lawmakers, specifically Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) who was in a tight Senate race. However, Braley ultimately lost to Republican Joni Ernst.

--Rachel Gantz, rgantz@opisnet.com


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