US EPA sends long-awaited renewable fuels rule to White House
The National Biodiesel Board released the following statement from Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel after the EPA sent the proposed final rule for the 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review:
“We’re pleased to see the process moving forward and hope the final rule will show that this administration is standing behind our national goals for clean, domestic fuels that strengthen our economy and national security. We also continue to urge the administration to finalize the rule as quickly as possible. The original EPA proposal and continued delays have severely disrupted the U.S. biodiesel industry this year. We can begin to reverse that damage with a meaningful increase in the biodiesel volume that is finalized as quickly as possible so that producers can ramp up production in a timely fashion.”
Biodiesel is made from a wide variety of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats. It 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.
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 NBB 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.