The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last Friday announced plans to issue the proposed 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations by June 1, 2015 and will finalize the 2014 and 2015 RFS renewable volume obligations by November 30, 2015.  Proposed and final standards for 2016 are also to be released on this same schedule.

EPA agreed to the timelines as a result of a lawsuit by the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, relating to EPA’s failure to complete its 2014 and 2015 RFS rules by the deadlines required by law.  “Under the proposed consent decree, the agency would issue final annual volume standards for 2014 and 2015 by the end of this year,” EPA said.  “Although not required by the consent decree, EPA will also finalize the standards for 2016 this year,” the agency said.  EPA also indicated  that it will re-propose volume requirements for 2014 that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said that the agreement provides certainty.  “No one has benefited from the delays in setting annual renewable volume obligations; and while we are sympathetic to the difficulty EPA faces in promulgating annual targets, the statute is clear about the volumes required and the agency simply has to do a better job moving forward,” Dinneen said.

The Center on Global Energy Policy this week released a new study authored by Dr. James Stock featuring reforms to the RFS. In the study, The Renewable Fuel Standard: A Path Forward, Stock finds the RFS is currently imposing costs while failing to provide the support to biofuels to achieve the program’s energy security and environmental goals. When considering both regulatory and legislative reforms, Stock finds the best option for reform would be for EPA to expand the renewable fuel supply and expand the consumption of higher ethanol blends. The full study is available here.