SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - POET today filed comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding the proposed 2014 volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
In its comments, POET asserts that the EPA must maintain growth in renewable fuel by setting the 2014 conventional renewable fuel target at 14.4 billion gallons, the level set under the RFS.
The executive summary of POET's comments is below:
"EPA's Proposed Rule represents a complete reversal from prior EPA precedent regarding setting annual RFS targets. Worse still, the Proposed Rule's approaches to setting the 2014 RFS targets are contrary to EPA's statutory authority and based on unduly-conservative estimates of biofuel supply and use. Additionally, EPA finalizing the 2014 standards at the proposed levels would have a devastating impact on biofuels use and development, and undercut the RFS.
"In short, EPA does not have the statutory authority to undermine the Congressionally-enacted RFS, which is what the Proposed Rule would do. EPA's final rule must set higher RFS targets for 2014, in line with the statute's Congressional mandates. EPA has previously consistently held that 'refiners and importers are required to ensure that the volumes of renewable fuel required under the [RFS] are actually consumed.' EPA's reversing course now-and reducing without justification Congressionally-mandated targets-is both contrary to law and sets bad policy, undermining the environmental benefits of the RFS while also rewarding obligated parties for their avoiding the increased use of biofuels (a core EPA transportation-sector regulatory program).
"In particular, EPA must set the 2014 RFS conventional renewable fuel target at no less than the statutory level of 14.4 billion gallons. This target represents the difference between the statutory 'total renewable' and 'advanced' biofuel targets, and has generally been met by ethanol from conventional ethanol facilities, though other biofuels use may also satisfy this target. Any reduction in this target would undermine the regulatory predictability of the RFS and investment in advanced biofuels, including cellulosic biofuels, as explained in detail in these comments. EPA has in the past made significant changes to proposed rules that are significantly flawed, and it needs to do so in this rulemaking.
"The non-cellulosic RFS targets can be readily met, in 2014 as well as future years, assuming two basic factors. First, the conventional renewable fuel target (e.g., 14.4 billion gallons in 2014 and then 15 billion gallons in 2015) must be maintained. Second, EPA must avoid misusing RFS general waiver provisions-i.e., EPA should not seek to manipulate RIN prices so that they fail to incentivize feasible, near-term increases in the use of ethanol blends over E10 (such as E85 and E15) and biodiesel."
POET, one of the world's largest ethanol producers, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 25-year-old company has a production capacity in excess of 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from its network of 27 production facilities. POET also operates a pilot-scale cellulosic bio-ethanol plant, which uses corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk as feedstock, and expects to commercialize the process in Emmetsburg, Iowa through its joint venture with DSM. For more information, visit www.poet.com.