52 lawmakers ask White House to boost biodiesel volumes under RFS
Expressing urgent concerns about a proposed cut, 52 U.S. representatives from across the country called on President Obama in late June to continue growing biodiesel volumes under the renewable fuel standard (RFS).
“During your time in office you have supported the development and growth of the biodiesel industry,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Obama. “Now, biodiesel producers around the nation have the ability to generate nearly 2 billion gallons a year of the only EPA-approved advanced biofuel, which is commercially available across the United States. Therefore, we believe now is not the time for a critical shift in biodiesel policy. We urgently ask that you raise biodiesel’s RVO for 2014 above 1.28 billion gallons.”
The letter, which was led by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., can be found here. The lawmakers signing the letter represent 22 states.
In a draft RFS rule released in November, the EPA proposed holding biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons—a sharp drop from last year’s actual production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. Biodiesel producers around the country have warned that such a proposal will cause severe contraction in the industry. A nationwide survey of producers conducted by the National Biodiesel Board in April found that more than half have already idled a plant this year and 78 percent have reduced production from last year. Nearly two-thirds—66 percent—have already laid off employees or anticipate doing so.
“Biodiesel is the most successful EPA-designated advanced biofuel being produced today,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “This is an RFS success story that is delivering tremendous benefits to the nation in terms of cleaner air, jobs, and diversity in the fuels markets that is helping consumers. We need consistent federal policy to continue the progress we’ve made, and we are urging the administration to finalize a strong RFS volume as quickly as possible.”
Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an advanced biofuel—meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Produced in nearly every state in the country, the industry has exceeded RFS requirements in every year of the program, reaching a record U.S. market of nearly 1.8 billion gallons and supporting more than 62,000 jobs nationwide.