US extends comment period on new renewable fuels rule

02 July 2009 21:15  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday extended the public comment period on its proposal to implement a new biofuels production and consumption mandate, saying multiple parties asked for the delay.

The EPA announced in early May its proposed regulations for raising US production and use of biofuels to 36bn gallons annually by 2022, a mandate known as the renewable fuels standard (RFS) and required by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

Current US bio-ethanol production is about 10.5bn gal/year, almost wholly based on corn. The nation has another 2bn gal/year of grain-ethanol production capacity that is idle due to the recession, lower fuel prices and lower demand.

The rules proposed by the EPA would establish annual percentage-based standards that refiners, importers and blenders of gasoline and diesel fuel would have to use to meet the 36bn gal/year goal set for 2022.

US refiners and petrochemical producers have complained that the EPA’s plans to implement the new biofuels mandate lack a scientific basis and ignore commercial and market realities.

The agency said on Thursday that the comment period that was to expire on 27 July is being extended by 60 days to 25 September.

EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn said that several entities had requested the comment period extension, although she could not immediately identify those who had sought the longer comment period.

“We were asked by several parties to extend the comment period,” she said. “Traditionally, when asked to extend a comment period, we do.”

Full details on the proposed renewable fuels mandate and instructions for submitting comments are available from an EPA website.

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By: Joe Kamalick
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