Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pyle rips Vilsack on cellulosic ethanol

A post by THOMAS PYLE noted:

Perhaps Secretary Vilsack missed the memo on recent reports that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) trading program has been fraught with fraud and abuse, with biofuels producers having pocketed over $70 million—and counting—from trading fraudulent credits associated with each gallon of fuel. Perhaps he also missed the memo that, under the RFS mandate that a certain amount of biofuel be used every year, refiners are charged $1.13 per gallon for failing to use non-corn biofuel that doesn't exist, because the industry responsible for producing it hasn't been able to get off the ground. For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency recently cut its target of producing 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2012 to a mere 8.62 million gallons this year. This is a far cry from creating a million jobs.

Meanwhile, Platts noted on 16 Feb 2012:

Biofuels producers urged US regulators on Thursday [Feb. 16] to ignore refiners' request for leeway in carrying out the renewable fuel mandate on the grounds that the industry failed to produce any cellulosic biofuels last year.

The Environmental Protection Agency required petroleum refiners and importers to blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels in 2011 or buy waiver credits by the end of this month to make up for the difference. The cellulosic target represented the smallest share by far of the 13.95 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard for 2011.

Trade groups for refiners and oil producers asked EPA in late January for a waiver from that requirement, given the absence of cellulosic biofuel production last year. Because of the looming February 28 deadline to buy credits, the petitioners asked the agency to respond faster than the standard 90-day deadline.

On Thursday, the Advanced Ethanol Council asked EPA to resist those calls to weaken the mandate.

Additionally, one notes that the group BIO weighed in on the side of the biofuels producers:

Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said, “The Renewable Fuel Standard is the key policy supporting rapid commercial development of advanced biofuels. Companies have made measurable progress in moving from concept to demonstration scale in their drive to open commercial facilities and make a significant contribution to energy security. Progress may not have been as fast as anyone would like, but the changes to the RFS that petroleum interests are requesting are solely designed to impede further progress. Commercial-scale advanced biofuels projects are just starting to come on line and it makes little sense to disrupt this progress now. We ask that EPA continue its consistent implementation.”


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