White House begins final review of ethanol rule

White House begins final review of ethanol rule
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The White House has begun the final review of proposed ethanol-level rules under the federal renewable fuels mandate. 

The Office of Management and Budget reported Monday that it has received the final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the last step before finalizing the ethanol requirements.

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EPA officials rankled both ethanol interests and the oil industry in May with the three-year ethanol mandate proposal, which looks to set the amount of ethanol refiners are required to mix into their gasoline supply every year. 

The proposed mixing levels are well below what Congress said they should be when lawmakers expanded the RFS in 2007. Corn-growers and biofuel advocates have pushed the EPA to increase the levels while finalizing the rule.

At the same time, the oil industry argued that it is already mixing as much ethanol as is possible into its fuel supply, warning that most cars can’t support fuel with more a higher ethanol concentration than 10 percent. 

Industry groups on both sides of the issue have launched ad campaigns over the proposal, and lawmakers had appealed directly to the White House and the EPA to make their cases for or against it. 

The EPA received more than 670,000 comments on their proposed RFS levels. A spokeswoman said Monday that the agency is “committed to the long-term growth in biofuels that will strengthen energy security and increase greenhouse gas emissions benefits.”

The Obama administration is required to issue the standards by Nov. 30.