As the Environmental Protection Agency readies next year's renewable-fuel standard, both biofuels producers and gasoline refiners are poised to pounce. No matter where EPA sets the volume requirements for ethanol and other biofuel blends in 2014, the standard is going to face push-back.
"Groups within the biofuel industry are fully committed to challenging the rule in court if the EPA changes how it implements the standard," said Paul Winters, communications director for the Biotechnology Industry Organization. "We want to see the targets continue to be set at the highest-achievable level."
The biofuels industry is concerned about the 2014 standard because a leaked draft of the proposal showed the agency might reduce the target for renewable fuels from the statutory requirement of 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons next year.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy emphasized in a statement last month that no decisions would be made until all stakeholders had an opportunity to provide input, but the leaked draft made many ethanol producers nervous.
"Having seen the leaked draft, we've begun to focus on how it would send a chilling signal about future investment in the industry," Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, told National Journal Daily. Association members took their concerns to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which must sign off on EPA's proposal before it is released, possibly as early as Tuesday.