The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its proposed requirements for the 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard. As expected the EPA has reduced the cellulosic biofuel requirement. The agency is required to assess the capacity of the cellulosic biofuel industry each year and set the RFS accordingly. EPA is proposing to maintain the 2012 advanced biofuel requirements under the RFS at two billion gallons and the statute for conventional renewable biofuel at 13.2 billion gallons for an unchanged overall RFS requirement of 15.2 billion gallons.
Advanced Ethanol Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman says there is no question that the RFS is a forward-looking policy that will drive significant usage of cellulosic biofuels once the industry hits the requisite production levels. Coleman says the U.S. needs the same kind of forward-looking tax policy to ensure these technologies can commercialize and compete in a marketplace where oil production is still subsidized.
One way to do this is to enact meaningful, long-term tax incentives to spur construction of the first-commercial advanced biofuel plant. She says the advanced ethanol industry will hit the mark and achieve the goals of the RFS if Congress aligns the tax code with the RFS, sending the message that advanced biofuels will be a cornerstone of a strategy to create jobs and reduce oil dependence.
The National Biodiesel Board voiced its support of the EPA's proposed renewable fuel volume requirements for 2012-2013. NBB says the proposal calls for increasing the biomass-based diesel program from 800 million gallons in 2011 to one billion gallons in 2012 and almost 1.3 billion gallons in 2013. Biodiesel makes up nearly all biomass-based diesel production in the U.S. and is eligible to exceed these targets and contribute to the general advanced biofuels requirements due to its qualification as an advanced biofuel.
National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe is confident these targets will be met and likely exceeded. As a result he says biodiesel will continue to contribute to improving the environment, creating jobs and reducing the nation's reliance on foreign oil.
EPA will issue final RFS volumes in November after a public comment period.