The decision last week by the Obama administration to delay a final biofuels rule for 2014 is leading to conflict within the industry over the future of the program.
Mike McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, on Tuesday renewed his call for Congress to write new legislation to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard, a stance that put him at odds with other biofuels groups.
He argued that the approach adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep biofuels at about 10 percent of the motor vehicle fuel market, based on the predominant blend of ethanol into gasoline sold to consumers, threatens to kill investment into ethanol made from non-corn cellulosic feedstocks.
"It's time for Congress to step in and do something," McAdams said in an interview.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will not finalize its 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard proposal this year and will set final targets next year, potentially with 2015 requirements.
The agency is more than a year late in finalizing the annual mandate for biofuels use in transportation fuels. Late last year it proposed to cut required use compared to 2013, which prompted intense lobbying from the biofuels industry in an effort to raise the totals in a final rule.
"Due to this delay, and given ongoing consideration of the issues presented by the commenters, EPA is not in a position to finalize the 2014 RFS standards rule before the end of the year," the agency said in a Federal Register notice.
Sources tell Platts that the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014 biodiesel production will range from 1.28 billion to 1.5 billion gallons, far lower than industry capacity that reached 1.8 billion gallons last year.
As industry and politicians await this year's final ethanol mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency, the oil industry hopes to get a lower total out of the Obama administration with a long shot pitch that consumers want gasoline free from biofuels.
The American Petroleum Institute has asked EPA to consider an apparent increase in sales of unleaded gasoline with no ethanol. It has said those sales of so-called E0 should prompt a lower Renewable Fuel Standard requirement, below the 13.1 billion gallons of conventional ethanol it proposed last fall.
But the argument is running up against lobbying by the ethanol industry, which wants the totals raised, and EPA itself, and its success would be a surprise.
The Obama administration on Friday awarded $210 million to three companies to build refineries that will be able to make more than 100 million gallons a year of biofuels to power Navy ships and jets.
The awards come some three years into President Barack Obama's initiative to develop a domestic military-grade biofuels sector. It follows the testing of biofuels by the Navy in a live exercise in 2012.
Navigant Research said in a report that marine and aviation industries have been expanding their use of biofuels in recent years and projected that biofuels will make up 6.1 percent of the aviation fuel market by 2024, FuelFix reports.
NEW YORK (AP) — The price of corn fell to its lowest in almost four years on Monday as favorable weather conditions for the crop persist in the Midwest.
Corn for delivery in September fell 9 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $4.06 a bushel, its lowest price since August 2010. As recently as April 29, corn was trading at $5.22.
The price of corn has slumped in the last two months as the right combination of sun, rain and moderate summer temperatures has boosted the chances of a record crop this year. U.S. corn is currently entering its pollination stage, a critical point of its development.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday said there is still no target date to issue final Renewable Fuel Standard biofuels requirements for 2014.
"I'm hoping to get that out soon," she said when asked about the status of the 2014 RFS proposal. "I know that people are concerned about it. I also know that there was a ton of comment on our proposal and we need to get this right," McCarthy added.
The GOP chorus denouncing the Environmental Protection Agency move to lower the ozone standard was joined by House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., senior figures on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who is chairman of the Republican Senate caucus, The Hill reports.
Ahead of the OPEC meeting in Vienna, oil prices recovered Wednesday from earlier drops triggered by word of a greater-than-expected increase in U.S. crude inventories as well as a comment from Saudi Arabia's oil minister that there would be no need for a production cut. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery slipped just 3 cents to $74.06 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London Brent was 5 cents lower to $78.28, Bloomberg reports.
Freeport LNG has closed on financing deals – from Japanese sources -- for two of three planned liquefaction trains at its export facility, and should begin construction on its plant in Quintana, Texas this week, with operation projected to start in 2018, FuelFix reports.
Uranium prices are on track for an 18 percent increase in 2014, which would be the first annual gain for the energy commodity in four years and make it the best performing category in the sector, Bloomberg reports.
Nearly all of the claims dealt with through the settlement process after the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico spill were handled correctly, according to a third party audit released Tuesday by claims administrator Patrick Juneau, The Times-Picayune reports.
The legal fight over the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. rule could revolve around what’s meant by the words “adjacent” and “neighboring,” as well as how the regulation defines a flood plain, E&E reports.
After a shareholder lawsuit filed to stop the $2.86 billion merger announced in June between C&J Energy Services and the fracking business of Nabors Industries, a judge in Delaware Tuesday ordered a 30-day suspension to allow for competing offers, but C&J said it would appeal, FuelFix reports.
Oncor’s proposal to install battery storage across the grid in Texas is coming in for criticism from a state lawmaker – Republican State Sen. Troy Fraser said his support for the $5.2 billion project came before he realized an increase in transmission rates would be part of the package, The Dallas Morning News reports.
Speaking about the failure of Google’s renewable energy project RE<C, two engineers, writing in IEE Spectrum recently, said trying to fight climate change using only existing technologies like wind and solar energy won’t work, Fox News reports.