The Environmental Protection Agency dealt a blow to biofuels producers Friday with the release of a proposal for the 2014 renewable-fuel standard revising the total renewable volume obligations downward for the first time.
The 2014 mandate proposes a range of 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons of biofuels to be added to the U.S. fuel supply next year, with a recommended target of 15.21 billion gallons within that range.
The target number, if it becomes law, would be a reduction of nearly 3 billion gallons relative to the statutory requirement for 2014 of 18.15 billion gallons.
It also proposes a range of 2 billion to 2.51 billion gallons of advanced biofuels with a recommended target of 2.2 billion gallons. The range falls below the proposed target of 3.75 billion gallons under the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007.
On a call with reporters Friday morning, a senior administration official cited the blend wall, or the point at which ethanol exceeds 10 percent of the total fuel supply, as one of the principal reasons the agency decided to lower the mandate.
“The blend wall is an issue of particular interest in determining this year’s standard because production of renewable fuels continues to increase but overall gasoline consumption continues to be less than what Congress anticipated when the program was established in 2007,” the official commented, adding: “While under the law volumes of renewable fuel are set to increase each year this unanticipated reduction in fuel consumption brings us to a point where the realities of the fuel market must be addressed to properly implement the program.”
The oil and gas industry has long warned that blending ethanol at levels above 10 percent of the total gasoline supply could damage car engines. Biofuels producers, however, have dismissed these claims as an attempt by the industry to weaken the standard.
Once the rule is published in the Federal Register there will be a 60-day public comment period. The agency is expected to finalize the rule by next spring.
Read the full release here.
What We're Following See More »
"White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is expected to meet with the House Intelligence Committee as soon as this week, making her one of President Donald Trump's closest confidantes to be privately interviewed in the panel's Russia investigation, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN." She could testify as soon as Friday.
All Democrats plus Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins "have endorsed a legislative measure to override the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry," says Chuck Schumer. Congress gas "a window of 60 legislative days to reverse the move under the Congressional Review Act."
"U.S. counterintelligence officials in early 2017 warned Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that Wendi Deng Murdoch, a prominent Chinese-American businesswoman, could be using her close friendship with Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to further the interests of the Chinese government, according to people familiar with the matter. U.S. officials have also had concerns about a counterintelligence assessment that Ms. Murdoch was lobbying for ... a planned $100 million Chinese garden at the National Arboretum, was deemed a national-security risk because it included a 70-foot-tall white tower that could potentially be used for surveillance."
"Chances of a government shutdown grew Monday as Republicans concluded that they would be unable to reach a long-term spending accord by the Friday deadline. GOP leaders are now turning to a short-term funding measure in hopes of keeping agencies open while talks continue, but Democratic leaders say they are unlikely to support any deal that does not protect young illegal immigrants. Aides to key negotiators from both parties planned to meet Tuesday in an effort to rekindle budget talks, setting up a Wednesday meeting of the leaders themselves. If they cannot agree, the government would shut down at midnight Friday for the first time since 2013."