The Environmental Protection Agency has not made a final decision on biofuel blending requirements for 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said on Friday, responding for the first time to reports that the agency had proposed a surprise reduction in ethanol use for next year.
"At this point, EPA is only developing a draft proposal," she said in a statement. McCarthy said the Obama Administration remained "firmly committed" to developing biofuels as a part of the plan to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.
The statement made no specific mention of the draft EPA documents reported by Reuters and other news outlets, which propose reducing the quota of corn-based ethanol to just 13 billion gallons next year, much lower than expected.
"No decisions will be made on the final standards without a full opportunity for all stakeholders to comment on the EPA's proposed 2014 renewable fuel standards and be heard on how to best foster a growing biofuels industry that takes into account infrastructure- and market-related factors," she said.
(Reporting by Cezary Podkul, editing by Jonathan Leff)