The agency slightly upped the requirement for advanced biofuels, but left the conventional biofuels requirement for 2018 and the biodiesel mandate for 2019 unchanged.
"Unfortunately, this final rule fails to recognize the enormous opportunity before us to harness our nation's vast cellulosic resources for higher performing and lower cost fuels".
The final EPA rule sets the target for conventional renewable fuels - primarily ethanol - at 15B gallons - in 2018, but rejects pleas from biodiesel producers as it maintains a 2.1B gallon quota for biodiesel in 2019.
Iowa Biodiesel Board Executive Director Grant Kimberly says they are disappointed with the decision.
The agency finalized a total renewable fuel volume of 19.29 billion gallons, including 4.29 billion advanced biofuel - a slight increase from the proposal - and 288 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel.
Leading up to the release of the final 2018 RVOs, Growth Energy filed substantive comments including several studies that provided insight into the potential for cellulosic biofuels production, the role of renewable fuel in achieving the U.S.'s energy policy goals, and the risk of an increase to national greenhouse gas emissions if the EPA were to reduce the conventional fuel volume. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the final numbers "fall short of the full potential of the US biofuels industry".
However, the National Biodiesel Board noted that the EPA recommended only 4.29 billion gallons of advanced biofuels and 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, a reduction and a flatline, respectively, from past year. "We will work with the Administration and EPA going forward to restore growing biofuel targets that will spur innovation in rural communities".
"The EPA's announced renewable volume obligations fall short of the full potential of the USA biofuels industry", said Sen.
The agency is "discouraging investment and discouraging growth" by keeping biodiesel volumes flat, says Iowa Gov. Reynolds.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen called the final figures "a marked improvement" and encouraged the EPA to keep an eye out for advancements in cellulosic biofuel production, "because we believe greater cellulosic production is likely". "That is disappointing", he said in a statement. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, threatened to block a key EPA appointee.
The head of the leading US ethanol industry trade association applauded the EPA's decision to keep a 15-billion-gallon mandate for conventional biofuels. She added she would continue to push for higher biodiesel and cellulosic amounts.
Renewable fuels, oil refining interests find flaws.