API challenges 2011 RFS cellulosic volumes again

By Erin Voegele | July 25, 2012

The American Petroleum Institute filed yet another lawsuit challenging the 2011 cellulosic requirement of the Renewable Fuel Standard. According to the API, the lawsuit was filed with the D.C. Circuit Court on July 24. The group filed a similar challenge against the 2012 RFS requirements in March.

The API had already challenged the 2011 requirements. The U.S. EPA denied its petition against the mandate in May,  and continued to increase the 2012 cellulosic requirements.

“EPA’s unattainable and absurd mandate forces refiners to pay a penalty for failing to use biofuels that don’t even exist,” said API Director of Downstream and Industry Operations Bob Greco.  “The mandate is effectively an added tax on gasoline manufacturers that could ultimately burden consumers. EPA is directed to set the fuel requirement at a realistic volume but the agency continues to mandate the use of biofuels that do not exist.”

In a statement, the API said its supports a realistic and workable RFS and continues to recommend that EPA base its prediction on at least two months of actual cellulosic biofuel production in the current year when establishing the mandated volumes for the following year.  This approach would provide a more realistic assessment of potential future production rather than simply relying on the assertions of companies whose ability to produce the cellulosic biofuel volumes EPA hopes for is questionable.

 While there was no commercial supply of cellulosic biofuels last year, that could soon change. Earlier this month Blue Sugars Corp. announced that it generated the first renewable identification number (RIN) for cellulosic ethanol in the U.S. The fuel was produced at the company’s demonstration-scale plant.