Governors ask for higher biodiesel, ethanol mandates

A group representing 33 state governors asked the administration to increase the blending mandates for biodiesel and a certain kind of ethanol.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), the leaders of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, said potential decreases in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol could hurt the nascent waste biofuel industry.

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The governors said the expanding industry that produces biofuel from waste products — also known as advanced biofuels — could bring millions of gallons of clean fuel, create thousands of jobs and decrease reliance on imported oil, among other benefits.

“However, the adoption of EPA’s proposed 2014 RFS volume requirements threatens to have a negative economic impact on the rural economy and on the biofuels industry, specifically on biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol,” they wrote in a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is currently reviewing the final volumes.

The EPA proposed last year to lower the amount of ethanol that refiners must blend into their traditional fuels in 2014 and keep the biodiesel level at the same as 2013, which is less than the industry actually produced.

The agency has still not released the final volume requirements, even though there are only two months left in the year.

The governors said the proposed biodiesel level has already hurt companies.

“Additionally, the proposed RFS rule has discouraged new investment in the newly emerging cellulosic ethanol industry and now threatens the many new plants about to go into commercial production,” they said.

The governors did not ask for specific volume levels, but asked for a rule that “will build and restore America’s robust leadership in the development and production of domestically produced renewable fuels.”