The Obama administration proposed on Friday slashing federal requirements for U.S. biofuel use in 2014, partially bowing to pressure from the petroleum industry and attempting to prevent a projected fuel crunch next year.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed to cut overall use of renewable fuels—made mostly from U.S. corn and to a lesser extent from soybeans, grasses, crop waste and Brazilian sugar cane—to a range of 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons.
Within that range, the agency proposed a goal of 15.21 billion gallons, which is more than 16 percent lower than the previous 18.15 billion gallons contained in the law that governs the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and below the 2013 level of 16.55 billion gallons.
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The proposed goal matches the number in a draft that was leaked and circulated in October.
The EPA's proposal to reduce the renewable fuels targets is a partial win for the petroleum industry but a loss for biofuel producers, and followed a prolonged lobbying blitz on both sides of the issue.