U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican of the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding today's announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the 2013 Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) and the required volume obligation for cellulosic biofuel. Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated EPA's unrealistic 2012 projection for cellulosic biofuel production.
"The EPA continues to make up unicorn-like standards in this area of renewable fuels production, and clearly are ignoring last week's appellate court ruling," Vitter said. "EPA has been getting away with mandating exaggerated fuel standards based on a pie in the sky wish, and even after last week's embarrassing loss, they persevere in ignoring the cold hard facts. Increasing the standard after their 2012 requirements were vacated is beyond ludicrous, and they continue to force refiners to either purchase even more gallons of product that doesn't exist or pay a fine."
Under the Renewable Fuels Standard, the mandated amount of cellulosic biofuel determines how much refiners, importers, and blenders must use or purchase credits for each year to comply with the law. For 2013, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected 9.6 million gallons of potential production. EPA's proposed volumetric requirement for cellulosic biofuel for 2013 is 14 million ethanol equivalent gallons. The production for the last three years has been virtually zero.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that EPA was projecting far too much production of cellulosic biofuel for 2012. In vacating EPA's 2012 projection of cellulosic biofuel production, the Court found that the RFS program, as amended in 2007, would need to be based on what will actually happen versus a prediction. The Court found EPA's estimations of growth in the cellulosic biofuel industry did not align with how the Renewable Fuels Standard law is written.
Today, EPA also proposed a process for addressing the fraudulent sales of Renewable Fuel Identification Numbers (RINs) occurring in the area of biomass based diesel. Approximately 140 million fraudulent RINs have been discovered and a careful examination of EPA's proposal is necessary to guarantee that the generation and sale of fraudulent RINs does not continue.
Earlier this week, Energy Trends Insider published "Why I Don't Ride a Unicorn to Work," which compares EPA's cellulosic ethanol blends to requiring automakers to sell unicorns.