FACTBOX-U.S. EPA proposes 2014 renewable fuel standards

Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:24am IST

Nov 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday
proposed lowering the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and
diesel in 2014, bowing to pressure from the petroleum industry. 
    The following is a summary of the EPA'S proposals. The proposals seek
comment on a range of total renewable fuel volumes for 2014. The EPA can still
change its proposal within those ranges.
         
 Category                Proposed volume        Range (gallons)     Statute   
 
 Cellulosic biofuel      17 mln gallons       8-30 mln               1.75 bln
 Biomass-based diesel    1.28 bln gallons     1.28 bln             over 1 bln
 Advanced biofuel        2.20 bln gallons     2.0-2.51 bln           3.75 bln
 Total renewable fuel    15.21 bln gallons    15.0-15.52 bln        18.15 bln
    Based on its proposal, 9.2 percent of all gasoline and diesel fuel would be
from renewable sources in 2014.      
     Proposed percentage standards for 2014
 Cellulosic biofuel          0.010 percent
 Biomass-based biodiesel     1.16 percent 
 Advanced biofuel            1.33 percent 
 Total renewable fuel        9.20 percent 
    The big reduction in proposed cellulosic production below the mandate
reflects a lack of progress in developing that industry, which makes fuel out of
material such as wood, grass and the inedible part of plants. 
    The agency also proposed setting 2015 biomass diesel volume at 1.28 billion
gallons, a third straight year at that level. The original law did not spell out
volumes for biomass based diesel beyond 2012, expect to say they should be no
less than 1 billion gallons each year. 
     The EPA noted two different authorities in the 2007 law governing the
Renewable Fuel Standard that permit it to reduce volumes of advanced biofuel and
total renewable fuel, and said it had used a "combination" of those authorities
to craft the 2014 proposals. 
    EPA's use of the authorities is likely to become the basis of legal action
from ethanol backers challenging the cuts.     
    In a separate action, the EPA said it was seeking comment on petitions for a
waiver of the renewable fuel standards that would apply in 2014, and expects to
decide on the waiver the same time that it issues a final rule on the 2014 RFS. 
    Friday's proposals will be open to a 60-day public comment period once they
are published in the Federal Register, pushing the final word on 2014 levels
into the new year. Final 2013 mandates were published in August. 


 (Reporting by Ros Krasny in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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