Biodiesel advocates from across the country will testify at an EPA hearing in Kansas City Thursday in support of stronger biodiesel and other Advanced Biofuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The supporters, led by National Biodiesel Board Chairman Ron Marr and Vice President Anne Steckel, includes fuel producers from Louisiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Dakota and Rhode Island. The group will highlight biodiesel’s impact in creating jobs, reducing pollution and diversifying the fuel supply to strengthen U.S. energy security.
“Biodiesel is the most successful Advanced Biofuel in the nation, and plants like mine can do so much more with the right policy signals,” Marr, biodiesel manager at Minnesota Soybean Processors, said in testimony to be delivered at the hearing. “Our industry is ready to expand production with new jobs and economic impact. By the EPA’s own analysis, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 57 percent and as much as 86 percent. So if our nation is serious about cutting emissions in the transportation sector, this proposal needs to be strengthened to truly capture biodiesel’s potential while putting more Americans to work in the clean energy sector.”
Biodiesel – made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats – is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. It has made up the vast majority of Advanced Biofuel production under the RFS to date, and according to the EPA, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared with petroleum diesel.
The EPA proposal would establish a 2.1-billion-gallon Biomass-based Diesel requirement in 2018, up from the 2-billion-gallon requirement for 2017. NBB has called for at least 2.5 billion gallons in 2018, as the industry is already on pace to exceed 2.1 billion gallons in 2016. There remains substantial unused production and distribution capacity in the United States.
“Ending our dependence on fossil fuels is among the great challenges of our time. Changing the way we power our vehicles requires bold, aggressive action, and the RFS is the most effective policy we have for accomplishing that,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs, in prepared testimony. “The RFS is not a status quo policy. It was designed to drive investment and innovation by providing stability and incentives for the development of clean alternative fuels. But this proposal falls short of that goal.”
The RFS – a bipartisan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush – requires increasing volumes of renewable fuels in the U.S. fuel stream. The law requires increasing volumes of Advanced Biofuels in the coming years. Under the law, Advanced Biofuels must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum fuels.
Biodiesel falls under the Biomass-based Diesel category, which is an Advanced Biofuel category intended to ensure that the RFS also addresses the diesel fuel market, not just gasoline. The Biomass-based Diesel category is filled by both biodiesel and renewable diesel, a similar diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.
In addition to calling for a higher Biomass-based Diesel volume, NBB is advocating a stronger overall Advanced Biofuel volume.