EPA raises ethanol, biofuels mandates again

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Environmental Protection Agency wants refineries to put more ethanol and other biofuels into the gasoline supply next year .

The annual announcement on next year’s standard again drew protest from some biofuels producers, who say EPA is not keeping up with the renewable fuels mandate set by Congress in 2007.

Under the proposed 2017 standard:

  • ethanol production would increase 4 percent to 18.8 billion gallons
  • advanced biofuel production would increase 10 percent to 4 billion gallons
  • biomass-based diesel would rise 5 percent to 2 billion gallons
  • cellulosic biofuel would increase 36 percent to 312 million gallons

“This administration is committed to keeping the [biofuels mandate] on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program,” Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s office of air and radiation, said in a statement.

The EPA already faces opposition from biofuel producers, some of whom are suing the agency to force it to raise the levels those prescribed by Congress a decade ago.

Advanced forms of biofuels, that use waste streams and not food crops, remain wildly expensive technologies. But producers say the government is not doing enough to promote a product still in its infancy.

“You have first of a kind plants built and only a handful of them. If we were reaching the scales projected [by Congress] you’d get a lot more efficiency,” said Paul Winters, communications director for trade group Biotechnology Innovation Organization, which is based in Washington D.C.

The EPA is expected to announce a final standard later this year, once it has reviewed public comment.

via Fuel Fix

Categories: Energy, Transportation