We’re almost into December, which for most people and businesses generally means wrapping up the loose ends of the year and preparing for 2015.
But not the federal government, at least not when it comes to the Renewable Fuels Standard mandates that refiners like ExxonMobil are required to follow.
The government is required to announce before the start of each year exactly how much ethanol refiners will be required to blend into the nation’s fuel supply. Set aside for a moment the negative environmental and economic impacts of ethanol that I’ve written about many times. By law, the volume amount must be finalized by the end of November of the previous year, giving companies time to adjust before the new year begins. As I wrote months ago, it’s common sense as well as common fairness.
So for 2014 that means the required volumes were supposed to be finalized on November 30, 2013 – or just about one full year ago.
The Environmental Protection Agency didn’t even submit its original proposal for the 2014 volumes until August 22 … of this year. After the proposal is submitted, it goes to the Office of Management and Budget, which according to a presidential executive order has 90 days to review the numbers. After a completed review, the numbers become official, establishing the standards the private sector has to meet.
Today is Day 90 since the 2014 proposal was sent to OMB, and the agency has not acted. This morning EPA announced that it will not be finalizing the 2014 numbers before the end of 2014.
Oh, and what about the 2015 volumes, which by law are due to be finalized by the end of next week?
The EPA has already announced they won’t have the proposed numbers for 2015 until well into next year.
As the nearby chart from the American Petroleum Institute makes clear, this will mean the EPA will have missed the mark in five out of the last six years. It almost makes you wonder what went wrong in 2011 that the agency was on time!
ExxonMobil, like everyone else in the country, is required to follow all applicable laws and meet all legal deadlines – and we do to the best of our ability. Shouldn’t Washington do so too?