March 31, 2014

BIO Encourages EPA to Speed Approvals of New Biofuel Pathways

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement it will halt new petitions for renewable fuel pathways for approximately six months, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today urged the agency to speed up rather than slow down the Petition Process for New Renewable Fuel Pathways under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). EPA first established the petition process in March 2010, as it finalized the rules for the RFS.

Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said, “EPA’s effort to improve the petition process for new renewable fuel pathways under the RFS is welcome. But the agency should aim to complete this review process in a more timely manner.

“Advanced biofuel companies need a pathway to the fuel market in order to attract necessary investment to build and start up new production facilities that create new jobs. The lengthy wait for approval of new pathways chills job creation and investment in the sector.

“In the past four years, EPA has completed fewer than half of the 62 petitions it has received for new renewable fuel pathways under the RFS. More than 36 petitions are still awaiting action – either approval or denial – and the average time that all petitioning companies have waited is currently 17 months. Companies filing cellulosic biofuel pathway petitions have faced the longest wait times – on average 24 months. This delay has slowed deployment of new advanced biofuel technologies.

“Combined with the proposed rule the proposed delay of the petition process may further undermine the development of advanced and cellulosic biofuels just as they are set to produce millions of commercial gallons and launch a rapid scale up.”

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