EPA extends 2013 RFS compliance deadline, 2014 rule expected soon

By Erin Voegele | June 09, 2014

The U.S. EPA is extending the compliance deadline for the 2013 renewable fuel standard (RFS) and the associated deadline for submission of attest engagement reports for the 2013 RFS. The new deadlines are Sept. 30, 2014 and Jan 30, 2015, respectively.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the rule on June 6. It will officially take effect following publication in the Federal Register.

This is the second time the EPA has extended the compliance deadline for the 2013 RFS. The agency first extended the deadline for four months in August 2013, when the 2013 rule was finalized. The statutory deadline was originally scheduled for Feb. 28, 2014. In its final rulemaking for the 2013 RFS, the EPA extended that deadline until June 30. With its most recent rulemaking, the EPA is extending that deadline for an additional three months, with the compliance deadline now scheduled for Sept. 30.

Within the June 6 rule, the EPA also indicated it intends to finalize the remaining portion of its rulemaking to establish the 2014 RFS soon. The proposed rule for the 2014 RFS was first released in November 2013.

In the new rulemaking, the EPA said it received comments on the 2014 RFS proposal that reiterated the importance to obligated parties of knowing their RFS obligations for 2014 prior to the compliance demonstration deadline for the 2013 RFS standards. While the first extension was expected to be sufficient to accommodate the 2014 RFS rulemaking process, that rule has not been finalized within the EPA’s original expected timeline. As such, the EPA said it believes an additional extension is appropriate.

“The 2014 RFS rulemaking has been more time consuming than originally anticipated, involving receipt of over 300,000 comments, concerning numerous specific issues related to the 2014 standards which the EPA needs, and wishes, to thoroughly consider and respond to,” said the EPA in the new rule. “While we do not believe that the EPA is constrained legally to extend the deadline, we do believe it is appropriate to do so in this instance. It will allow the EPA time to complete its work on the 2014 renewable fuel standards rule in a thorough manner, while also providing time between the expected date of finalizing that rule and the new 2013 compliance deadline which will be helpful to obligated parties.”

While the EPA’s Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker still indicates the final rule for the 2013 RFS could be published in the Federal Register this month, the White House Office of Management and Budget does not yet list the rule as being under review. Review by the OMB is a final step that must take place before the rule is finalized.

Although the 2014 RFS rule has not yet been finalized, the EPA may already be working on the 2015 RFS proposal. A recent blog posted by Growth Energy states that the EPA has indicated it expects to issue a proposed rule for the 2015 RFS in September, with a final rule issued in March.