EPA’s McCarthy Says No Decision Made on Renewable Mandate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made no final decision about its proposal for renewable fuel mandates for 2014, the agency’s administrator said today, responding to reports about a draft the EPA had circulated.

“The Obama administration remains firmly committed to furthering the development of all biofuels,” Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator, said in an e-mailed statement today.

A proposal from the agency dated Aug. 26 would cut the mandate to 15.21 billion gallons for renewable fuels in 2014 instead of the 18.15 billion gallons established by a 2007 law, according to a copy provided to Bloomberg. The agency would call for the use of 13 billion gallons of conventional corn-based ethanol and 2.21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel, down from 13.8 billion gallons and 2.75 billion gallons respectively this year, it said.

The administration of President Barack Obama, which has the ability under the law to adjust the legal requirements, could revamp the plan before the EPA issues it in the coming weeks. After that, the proposal would be open for comment from “all stakeholders” before being finalized by the agency, McCarthy said today.

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, refiners such as Exxon Mobil Corp. must use a certain amount of those fuels each year, with their target determined by their share of the fuel market.

The 2007 law mandates the use of 14.4 billion gallons of corn-derived ethanol in 2014 and 15 billion in 2015. Lobbyists for refiners such as Valero Corp. say that requirement is too high, and have pressed both Congress to scrap the entire program and EPA to lower the requirements.