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August 8, 2013
EPA Issues Final Rule Establishing 2013 Renewable Volume Obligations

On August, 6, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited final rule setting the 2013 renewable volume obligations (RVO) under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.'s memorandum on this is available online. The RVOs for 2013 are: (1) biomass-based diesel: 1.28 billion gallons; (2) advanced biofuels: 2.75 billion gallons; (3) cellulosic biofuels: 6 million gallons; and, conventional ethanol (mainly corn ethanol): 13.8 billion gallons. The rule will become immediately effective upon publication in the Federal Register. EPA's rule and fact sheet on it: are available online.

The most significant parts of the final rule are EPA's reduction of the cellulosic RVOs and language concerning its likely adjustment downward of the overall RVOs in its upcoming 2014 RFS rulemaking. In the final rule, EPA reduced the cellulosic RVOs down to 6 million gallons, from the 14 million it had proposed earlier this year. This reduction likely resulted from a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruling in January of this year that directed EPA to set the cellulosic gallon requirement to levels of actual production expected based on company and other information. The court stated that EPA could not set the volumes at the maximum level of production possible in order to drive production.

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