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Groups Say EPA Decision on RFS Volumes Will Be Delayed

(DTN) EPA likely will not issue final 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard volume requirements this week as the agency had planned, a National Biodiesel Board spokesman said Thursday.

EPA, the administrator of the RFS, had previously announced the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation rule for refiners, blenders and importers would be finalized by Friday, June 20.

"Clearly, the rule won't be finalized tomorrow (Friday)," Ben Evans, director of public affairs and federal communications for the NBB, told DTN on Thursday.

EPA could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"The EPA still hasn't sent the final proposal back to OMB [the White House Office of Management and Budget] for final review," Evans said. He added that after the final rule is sent to the OMB for final review, it usually takes at least another 30 days.

"So it appears that the final rule won't come out until July at best, and there is some speculation that it will be later than that," Evans said.

By statute, the EPA is required to provide a final RVO by Nov. 30 of the preceding year. The 2013 RVO final mandate was eight months late.

Bob Greco, American Petroleum Institute downstream group director, also told reporters Wednesday the final rule would be delayed beyond Friday.

API sent a letter to EPA on Wednesday criticizing the agency for delaying the final RVO again this year.

The RFS mandate is scheduled to increase each year until 2022. For this year's RVO, however, the EPA in November of last year proposed reducing the mandate for 2014 from the statute requirement of 18.1 billion gallons to between 15.0 billion and 15.52 billion gallons.

The largest proposed cut in the 2014 RFS was for the D6 renewable fuel nested category from 14.4 billion gallons stated by statute to 13.0 billion gallons, which would be the first reduction in this category. The D6 nested category is primarily satisfied by corn-based ethanol, which is blended into gasoline.

For the biomass-based diesel D4 category, EPA proposed to maintain the 1.28-billion-gallon level finalized for 2013. The NBB has been seeking an increase to 1.7 billion gallons for this year.

"At this point it's unclear, but we are urging the administration to finalize the rule as quickly as possible, but also to make sure they get it right," Evans said. "What's most important is that they get it right."

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