The Clean Air Act explicitly prohibits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from increasing the biomass-based diesel mandate for the 2014 compliance year, wrote American Petroleum Institute (API) Downstream Group Director Bob Greco in a letter sent Friday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

“The Clean Air Act expressly compels EPA to provide a 14-month lead time when modifying the mandate,” Greco wrote. “Pursuant to the Clean Air Act’s unambiguous language, EPA was required to have finalized any increase to the 2014 biomass-based diesel mandate by October 31, 2012. Furthermore, political gamesmanship has delayed the 2014 requirements, and as a result EPA’s authority to increase the 2016 biomass-based diesel standard is soon to pass.”

Greco said the administration is considering an increase to the biomass-based diesel standard for the 2014 compliance year for political reasons, even though most of the year has already passed.

“Congress establishes statutory deadlines for a reason,” he said. “They provide certainty to the regulated industries. Here, Congress recognized the fundamental difference in setting the biomass-based diesel standard and the other biofuel standards by providing the 14-month lead time to give obligated parties sufficient notice to make the necessary operational, logistical, and investment decisions to meet any increase in the biomass-based diesel standard.

“Because this deadline has passed by almost two years, the Clean Air Act prohibits EPA from increasing the biomass-based diesel requirement from the 2013 biomass-based diesel standard of 1.28 billion gallons.”

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 20 million Americans.