Oil lobby petitions US EPA to scale back 2013 biodiesel mandate

By Ron Kotrba | November 21, 2012

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers filed a petition Nov. 20 asking U.S. EPA to reconsider its final rule boosting the biomass-based diesel portion of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) from 1 billion gallons this year to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013. 

“AFPM strongly urges that EPA reconsider its decision to increase the biomass-based diesel volumes by 28 percent in 2013,” stated the petroleum lobby in a press release. “Since the EPA initially issued the rule, a number of factors have surfaced that could result in unintended consequences that will adversely impact both the domestic refining industry and U.S. consumers, as well.”

The agency initially issued the proposed increase more than a year before its final rule came out this September.

“EPA’s own data estimates that the cost of increasing the biomass-based diesel mandate will add between $253 million and $381 million to consumers’ transportation fuel bill in 2013,” said AFPM President Charles T. Drevna. “The U.S. economy is still struggling and this increase will hurt the millions who rely on transportation fuels.” 

“In 2013, the RFS will save U.S. consumers more than $120 million at the pump,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. “And going forward, it will certainly help consumers by diversifying our fuel supplies so that we’re not so vulnerable to oil price spikes that hit year after year.”

“Contrary to EPA’s research,” AFPM stated, “evidence is strong that an increase in the 2013 volume will not affect domestic energy security as the U.S. currently is a net exporter of diesel. In the category of unintended consequences, EPA’s decision will curtail investment in advanced biofuels that compete with biodiesel and will increase carbon emissions in 2013 under the RFS. The increase could also negatively impact the price and supply of agricultural commodities, since additional biodiesel feedstocks, such as soybean oil, will be required under the rule.” Drevna added that EPA should have resolved the RIN program restructuring to prevent fraud in the marketplace before increasing the 2013 renewable volume obligation for biomass-based diesel.

“The EPA was well aware of all of the issues AFPM has raised as it made its independent analysis and, ultimately, the agency made the right decision,” Steckel told Biodiesel Magazine. “Contrary to the petroleum industry’s complaints, biodiesel production will only boost the economy by creating new jobs and economic activity. Last year alone, our industry supported more than 40,000 jobs, with plants in nearly every state in the country. Biodiesel also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared with petroleum diesel, according to the EPA, and it dramatically reduces other harmful and costly air pollutants from petroleum diesel.”  


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