EPA Said to Announce Renewable Fuels as a Range Today

The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from advanced-biofuel producers and farm-state lawmakers, is set to propose today renewable-fuel standards expressed as a range, delaying until next year a decision on the final figures, according to people familiar with the proposal.

The EPA announcement of a range of options, scheduled for 2 p.m. New York time, would disappoint investors looking for specific production quotas from the agency.

Officials from the EPA told industry representatives they plan to offer a range for the overall renewable fuel and advanced biofuel mandate, not the specific numbers laid out in a leaked draft from August, according to participants in the meetings who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The range for advanced biofuels such as biodiesel could be as much as 1 billion gallons more than the 2.21 billion gallons in the leaked draft, they said.

Depending on the specifics, “that would be a huge change, particularly for domestic biodiesel makers,” said Scott Irwin, a renewable fuels specialist at the University of Illinois who hasn’t seen the August draft, which was obtained by Bloomberg last month. “In the long term, it would not be seen as quite the negative signal as the leaked document.”

Advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel and Brazilian ethanol, are part of a larger program for renewable fuels that is anchored by corn-based ethanol.

Corn growers and the ethanol industry are also pushing for an increase in the 13 billion-gallon quota called for in the August plan, which is below the 14.4 billion gallons in the law. The EPA has the ability to adjust the quotas in response to market pressures.

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