Advanced Biofuels: Suspended in Bureaucratic Animation

By Michael McAdams; Advanced Biofuels Association

For months the biofuels industry has focused on the EPA’s issuance of the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO’s). Lobbying has been furious and consistent from all the various stakeholder groups that are impacted by the final numbers. It is expected that the final rule will be issued in mid to late September.

But, beyond the RVO numbers, not much has been said about this Administration’s inability to execute on its mandated task to review and approve new pathways under the RFS for feedstocks, technologies and types of fuels. Yes, indisputably, the various RVO numbers are important to the advanced and cellulosic industry; however, it is even more important for EPA to approve our companies for inclusion under the RFS program promptly.

Over the last four years, numerous advanced and cellulosic biofuel producers have applied for pathways under in the RFS program, which would allow them to compete on a level playing field with those already approved. As of this writing, 37 proposed pathways are pending final approval according to EPA’s website, and more are lining up to apply. By delaying these companies participation in the RFS, EPA has put them at risk in the short-term and removed potential sustainable gallons to be counted towards the RVO targets.