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BIO Statement on EPA’s Proposed Rule for the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standards

May 18, 2016

The proposed rule for the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fails to put the program fully back on track. The rule undermines the goals of the statute as well as Congress’ clear intent, and it continues unnecessarily to create uncertainty for advanced and cellulosic biofuel producers and their investors, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) said today.

Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “BIO’s member companies have invested billions of dollars to develop advanced and cellulosic biofuel technologies and bring first-of-a-kind, large-scale biorefineries on line. The biofuel industry and fuel retailers are now investing billions more to continue building the infrastructure needed to get these fuels into the market.

“We look forward to reviewing the proposed rule carefully and to submitting considered comments on the rule. However, we are concerned that today’s rule fails to recognize and support the industry’s commitment and capacity to reach the statutory volumes for advanced and cellulosic biofuels under the RFS program and to continue to grow in the future. While we appreciate EPA slightly increasing the volume requirements, the rule nevertheless relies on a flawed interpretation of EPA’s waiver authority that is inconsistent with the plain text of the Clean Air Act as well as with congressional intent and is currently the subject of litigation in the D.C. Circuit Court. As BIO has explained in past comments to the agency, EPA cannot rely on such an interpretation of the statute to expand its authority and rewrite the rules governing the congressionally established volume requirements. We are concerned that EPA is repeating this and other errors from EPA’s untimely final rule for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 RFS volumes, issued late last year.

“We also appreciate and commend the agency’s effort to issue the 2017 rule in a timely manner; unfortunately, however, we are concerned that the rule continues to send the wrong signal to biofuel producers. BIO looks forward to working with EPA to correct any problems and flaws in the proposal and get this successful program back on track.”

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