Biodiesel industry calls on supporters to weigh in on RFS
The biodiesel industry is calling on all supporters who have a stake in the industry to weigh in with the federal government on a recent proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency has proposed cutting renewable-fuels volumes next year under the Renewable Fuel Standard, including for biodiesel.
The U.S. biodiesel industry is the leading producer of EPA-designated “Advanced Biofuel” and the first to break 1 billion gallons of annual production. With commercial-scale refineries across the country, the industry has exceeded RFS requirements in each year of the program and is on pace to do so again this year with anticipated record production of at least 1.7 billion gallons. Biodiesel is a clear RFS success story, and the industry is calling on the EPA to support a modest increase in the proposal that is consistent with actual production.
The EPA’s proposed rule for next year would set biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons while shrinking the overall Advanced Biofuel requirement to 2.2 billion gallons. The Biodiesel category is a subset of the overall Advanced category. Additionally, because excess biodiesel production in 2013 can be carried over for compliance into 2014, the 1.28 billion gallon proposal for 2014 could mean an effective market closer to 1 billion gallons—a dramatic reduction from current production levels.
“It is very disappointing that the EPA is proposing cuts to the biodiesel industry for 2014,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board. “The Obama administration has pushed so hard for the growth of clean-energy jobs, and the biodiesel industry is delivering. There is not a commercial-scale fuel on the planet that beats the environmental benefits that biodiesel delivers. By the EPA’s own calculations, biodiesel reduces greenhouse-gas emission by 57 percent to 86 percent. So we will be looking for answers from the EPA and the administration about why they are doing this, as it is not consistent with the administration’s stated policy.”
Biodiesel supporters can make their voices heard in several ways: by submitting formal comments to the EPA; by contacting their senators and representatives and encouraging them to weigh in with the White House and EPA; and by encouraging others to do the same.
To submit formal comments to the EPA, visit http://Biodiesel.org and click the Fueling Action Letter Writing Campaign link on the home page. It takes only a minute to enter your personal information and submit it electronically. The basic letter calls for a 2014 RFS volume of at least 1.7 billion gallons, but the electronic letter can be modified to personalize your message. The EPA’s formal comment period is set to close Jan. 28, 2014.
To reach out to your members of Congress, simply visit the Senate and House websites to find contact information and urge them to weigh in with the EPA about the proposal. Ask them to tell the EPA they support a reasonable 2014 volume increase for biodiesel to at least 1.7 billion gallons that will continue the RFS success story.
“We have benefited greatly from the biodiesel industry’s success,” said Lance Rezac, Onaga, the Kansas Soybean Association’s liaison to NBB. “It’s worth it now to step up to support future growth. I think every soybean farmer in Kansas should submit a letter.”
The biodiesel industry and soybean farmers have been linked since NBB was created 20 years ago. Soybean organizations have continued to invest in the biodiesel industry, helping it grow to a commercial industry supplying more than 1 billion gallons of renewable fuel each of the last three years. At 1 billion gallons of production, the biodiesel industry uses more than 4 billion pounds of U.S. soybean oil, helping to support domestic crush demand. A strong biodiesel demand has linked soybean-oil prices to the price of energy, effectively creating a floor for soy-oil prices. According to a 2012 Informa Economics study, the biodiesel industry has returned more than $15 billion in increased soy-oil revenue to the soybean industry between 2006 and 2012.