It’s an improvement, I suppose, over that one time last year when they actually tried to penalize refiners for not complying with the previous year’s standard which also vastly overestimated the amount of the required cellulosic biofuels that would exist in the real world rather than inside their self-righteous faux-green fantasies, but… that is hardly cause for celebration. Via The Hill:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday retroactively lowered the volume of cellulosic biofuel that refiners must blend into traditional fuels, aligning the 2013 mandated volume to the actual amount of fuels produced.

EPA’s original mandate for 2013 was based on a projection that producers would make 6 million ethanol-equivalent gallons of cellulosic biofuel, but just over 800,000 gallons of the fuels were actually produced that year, the agency said. Tuesday’s action sets the cellulosic biofuel blend level at 0.0005 percent, reflecting the amount of fuel produced. …

The year is over, but EPA’s revision means that refiners will not have to use credits or pay penalties for not reaching the target.“Since the cellulosic biofuel standard was based on EPA’s projection of cellulosic biofuel production in 2013, EPA deemed this new information to be of central relevance to the rule, warranting reconsideration,” EPA said in its rule, noting that now that the year is over, its “projection” can be based on actual production.

Let me reiterate that. The EPA devised the standard with which refiners must lawfully comply based on the consistently inaccurate projections with which they plowed ahead for benefit of the two cellulosic biofuels producers in the country (one of which ended up drastically underperforming), and the agency only belatedly “deemed” the fact that those biofuels were not commercially available to be of “central relevance the the rule.” …Ya’ think?!

Sadly, I realize that this hardly even qualifies as “news,” really, since this is just kind of the business-as-usual way the federal government often goes about enforcing things and even more particularly the way the EPA goes about enforcing the Renewable Fuel Standard — but why is this hardly even noteworthy business-as-usual? I often refer to the RFS and all of the ghastly inefficiencies and regulatory vagaries it inspires as the “saga of stupid,” and I do not throw around the word “stupid” lightly. This, my friends… this is stupid. The unabashed cronyism and politicization of it all is enough to make your head spin.

Now, if only they would stop cowering from the sound and the fury of the Big Ethanol lobby and finally release the 2014 RFS standards sometime before the next presidential election…