EPA to reconsider 2013 cellulosic standard

By Erin Voegele | January 27, 2014

The U.S. EPA has announced it is granting petitions for reconsideration of the cellulosic biofuel volume requirement under the 2013 renewable fuel standard (RFS). On Jan. 23, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy issued two similar letters to the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers stating that the EPA has determined that their respective petitions demonstrate that “the statutory criteria for granting a petition for reconsideration are satisfied.”

According to the EPA, API filed its petition on Oct. 11, while the AFPM filed its petition on Oct. 10.  

In the letters, McCarthy notes that the API and AFPM identified relevant information in their petitions that became available after the public comment period closed, but within the time period specified for judicial review. That information cited in the letter refers to KiOR Inc.’s Aug. 8 announcement reducing its expected cellulosic fuel production for 2013. According to the EPA, that information justifies reconsideration of the 2013 cellulosic biofuel standard.

As a result, the EPA will reexamine the 2013 cellulosic standard. Within the letter, McCarthy said the EPA will initiate a notice and comment rulemaking to reconsider the cellulosic portion of the final 2013 RFS rule.

The petitions filed by the API and AFPM also asked for reconsideration of other aspects of the 2013 RFS. According to the letter, the EPA will respond to those components of the petitions at a later date.

The EPA published the final rule for the 2013 RFS standards in August, setting a cellulosic standard of 6 million gallons. Renewable identification number (RIN) data recently published by the EPA for 213 indicates that approximately 422,740 cellulosic biofuel and 695,777 cellulosic diesel RINs were generated last year.