(Bloomberg) — Obama administration officials were set to
brief pro-ethanol lawmakers and biofuel boosters Monday as they
prepare to announce higher final quotas for renewable fuels that
must be blended into gasoline in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The final rule is set to be posted on the EPA website at 3
p.m. in Washington, according to a person familiar with the
timing who is not authorized to speak publicly. Ethanol
producers were trading higher.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was said to be leading
the effort with biofuel supporters on Capitol Hill and in
industry, according to people familiar with the scheduled talks.
Under a legal settlement with the oil industry, the
Environmental Protection Agency is required to finalize the
quotas for conventional corn-based ethanol and next-generation
The agency’s initial proposal, released in May, fell short
of levels mandated in a decade-old law by requiring refiners to
use 17.4 billion gallons of renewable fuels next year, with
about 14 billion of those coming from traditional corn-based
ethanol. By contrast, Congress originally envisioned refiners
blending 22.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels into the
nation’s gasoline supply in 2016.
The EPA is expected to at least modestly boost final quotas
based on a recent increase in gasoline demand but still waive
the congressionally mandated volumes in response to an oil
industry plea to keep the total ethanol mandate below a 10
percent blend accepted in all cars and trucks.
Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc., the fourth-biggest,
U.S. Ethanol producer by capacity, rose 58 cents, or 2.6 percent
to $23.14 a share at 12:40 p.m., in Nasdaq composite trading,
ahead of EPA’s announcement. That’s the highest intraday price
since Oct. 7.
Pacific Ethanol Inc., a West Coast producer of the fuel,
jumped 38.5 cents, or 9.3 percent, to $4.505 a share in Nasdaq
trading, the highest price in more than two weeks. Amyris Inc.,
also a U.S. Developer of biofuels, jumped 11.1 cents, or 7.1
percent, to $1.671 in Nasdaq trading.
Rex American Resources Corp., a Dayton, Ohio-based owner of
ethanol distilleries, climbed $2.04, or 3.4 percent, to $62.63 a
share on the New York Stock Exchange, the highest intraday price
since July 21.
Corn growers and biofuel producers have implored the Obama
administration to stick to the congressional targets to
encourage investment in the sector.
The Fuels America coalition of biofuel producers has argued
that if the EPA drops below those numbers, it will be rewarding
the oil industry for not complying with the law.
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