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EPA already attracting lightning in 2014

The 60-day comment period on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard statutory levels for ethanol and advanced biofuels will close January 28th.

No matter which way the EPA comes down, some groups continue to argue that it’s Congress that needs to act to provide a permanent fix; groups like the American Petroleum Institute have called for a full repeal of the RFS.

Belief exists among some analysts that there’s too much renewable fuel amid insufficient demand. Bloomberg New Energy Finance Analyst Alejandro Zamorano says ethanol use in the U.S. is about 2.5 times higher than needed, because of the RFS and the renewable fuel mandate in it.

Some lawmakers seem to agree; Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have proposed stripping ethanol from the RFS. Fuels America and Growth Energy have both called that legislation “short-sighted.” According to Fuels America, the measure would strand billions of dollars already invested in advanced fuels, undermine research and development and threaten thousands of potential jobs.

EPA’s work will continue to be questioned into the new year; the House is expected to open its new session with work on legislation aimed at easing environmental regulations, when it returns from recess next week.

The Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act (H.R. 2279) is a compilation of three environmental bills approved by the House Energy Committee, with the current incarnation reportedly scheduled for consideration by House Republicans.

Among other things, the bill would require the President to consult with states before enforcing federal environmental law. The measure also would prohibit the EPA from imposing overlapping regulations on states that already have rules on solid waste disposal, and would require all federally-owned facilities to comply with state requirements on hazardous substances.