Opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard have raised concerns about the biofuel industry's ability to produce enough non-corn cellulosic fuels to meet federal mandates. This week, the Energy Department added to the debate by lowering its 2013 production forecast.
The department's Energy Information Administration had given the Environmental Protection Agency last October a prediction of 9.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels. On Tuesday, it lowered that number to 5 million gallons in an issue brief published on the EIA site that offered no explanation for the drop.
Many U.S. ethanol plants have halted production over the past year, mostly because the drought has made it difficult to get locally produced corn. Most plan to restart, but it may not be until the 2013 corn crop is harvested in September.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed a nearly 9 percent increase in biofuels use this year under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, launching an annual debate over the use of ethanol and other alternative fuels in cars and trucks.
The announcement of proposed targets by EPA opens a 45-day comment period. EPA also proposed changes to address fraud in the Renewable Identification Numbers system used by the biofuels industry and fuels marketers to show compliance with the RFS.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed a nearly 9 percent increase in the use of biofuels this year under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.
The agency set an overall total of 16.55 billion gallons to be used in transportation, compared to 15.2 billion gallons last year. The 2013 target includes increases in the use of advanced biofuels, biomass-based diesel and cellulosic biofuels.
A federal court on Friday granted a partial victory to opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard by rejecting the Obama administration's 2012 cellulosic biofuels estimate.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency overestimated 2012 cellulosic biofuels output, sending the calculation back to the agency. It was unclear, however, how the order would affect refiners who must pay credits to the government based on the estimate, and how it would change EPA's estimate for 2013.
The choice of Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon would put the former Nebraska senator in line to have a potentially immense impact on domestic biofuels production, one that biofuels backers say will help the nascent industry but detractors contend will waste taxpayer dollars.
The Defense Department is on track under President Barack Obama to spur production of cellulosic biofuels from non-food sources through the Navy's Great Green Fleet initiative.
The department is also participating in the administration's planned $510 million grant program for new biofuels refineries, and individual military branches are making their own headways into energy efficiency improvements and biofuels use.
Attorneys general in four Northeastern states announced they would petition the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a new review of regulations governing nuclear waste storage, The Associated Press reports.
A panel of infrastructure experts in New Jersey criticized Gov. Chris Christie for remarks that suggested there was no evidence of a link between climate change and Hurricane Sandy, E&E Publishing reports.