Ag groups and legislators weighed in on EPA's plan to release final and proposed Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations for coming and past years, welcoming the announcement but some were concerned that the first decisions won't be public until June.
EPA said Friday it will issue the proposed 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations by June 1, 2015, and will finalize the 2014 and 2015 RFS RVOs by Nov. 30, 2015.
EPA also announced that it will also release the proposed 2016 RFS RVOs by June 1 and the 2016 numbers will be finalized by Nov. 30.
EPA agreed to the timeliens as a result of a lawsuit by the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, relating to EPA's failure to complete its 2014 and 2015 RFS rules by the deadlines required by law.
The National Biodiesel Board was positive about the announcement, noting that it will get the RFS "back on track," though the group said in a statement that ongoing questions will remain as to the volume levels proposed by EPA.
EPA said it would re-propose volume requirements for 2014 that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014, NBB noted.
Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said 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," he said.
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp wasn't as positive regarding the timeline announced, as she said sluggishness with the process was hurtful for farmers in her region – and will continue to be with announced deadlines.
"North Dakota biofuels workers and the farmers who supply them have suffered for years now because of the EPA's failure to live up to its legal obligations," Heitkamp said. "Hardworking folks have faced the possibility of lost jobs, factories have halted production, and the industry has faced incredible uncertainty."
"We should be doing everything we can to support an all-of-the-above approach to energy production in this country, not hindering a major component of our energy mix," she said. "The EPA needs to follow the law and implement biodiesel volume levels immediately that make sense for our nation's energy producers, and I'll continue to press the agency to make sure it does just that."