NBB board meeting recap

By | January 01, 2008
The biodiesel industry chose Minnesota farmer-leader Ed Hegland to chair the National Biodiesel Board at the board's mid-November meeting in Washington, D.C. A soybean grower from Appleton, Minn., Hegland will help lead the organization during a year of continued growth and challenges for the alternative fuel.

Hegland has served as a board member for the nonprofit trade association since 2004, representing the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council. He was elected to the NBB's governing board in 2006.

"We have had some great successes in the growth of the industry and in policy in Washington, D.C., over the past few years," Hegland said. "Going forward, our board will work together to build upon those and be the unified voice for a sustainable future for the biodiesel industry."

Other officers elected to lead the board are Vice Chair Gary Haer of Renewable Energy Group Inc., Secretary Graham Noyes of Imperium Renewables and Treasurer Ed Ulch of the Iowa Soybean Association.

It was the first election held under NBB's newly adopted structure to help ensure the industry's ability to speak with one voice. The structure streamlines and clarifies NBB's membership categories, guarantees more biodiesel producers seats on the governing board and envisions an increasing proportion of biodiesel producer-leaders over time. Other board members include:

Jim Conway, Griffin Industries (reelected)
Kris Kappenman, Archer Daniels Midland Co. (reelected)
Darryl Brinkmann, American Soybean Association and immediate past NBB chair (reelected)
Jeff Trucksess, Green Earth Fuels
Bob Metz, South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (reelected)
Jake Stewart, Organic Fuels
Denny Mauser, Western Iowa Energy
Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board (reelected)
David Womack, Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board (reelected)
Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board (reelected)
Chuck Neece, FUMPA

The NBB recognized Darryl Brinkmann for his years of dedicated service to the industry and as the outgoing board chair. He served in that role from 2004-'07. Also recognized were outgoing board members Fred Wellons, Tellurian Biodiesel; Gene Gebolys, World Energy, who was chairman of the regulatory committee; Jim Boushka, Smithfield BioEnergy; Bill Ayres, Ag BioEnergy; and John Campbell, Ag Products Inc.

Cantwell honored for biodiesel work
The NBB presented Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., with the National Energy Leadership Award for her role in promoting biodiesel development. The award was in recognition of Cantwell's efforts as a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to promote the production and use of biodiesel. Cantwell accepted the award at the NBB board meeting.

"Looking forward, there are many opportunities for the biodiesel industry during this exciting time," Cantwell said. "Our challenge in Washington, D.C., is going to be how to level the playing field. We need to stop (providing incentives for) fossil fuels, and level the playing field for new products in the marketplace, such as biodiesel."

New resolutions steer board
Three committees adopted new resolutions to help guide the industry. The technical, marketing and regulatory committees met and passed resolutions to address quality assurance, biodiesel as an answer to carbon reduction and legislative action.

The technical committee's resolution stated, "NBB encourages all biodiesel producers to monitor B100 production using appropriate performance-based tests to minimize the potential for filter clogging above the cloud point with B20 and lower blends." It adopted this resolution to help address refinement of the ASTM specification for precipitates above the cloud point. The NBB is vigilant in taking precautions in cold weather, and the technical committee members voted unanimously to ensure that even though fuel might meet the ASTM specification, fuel producers must monitor their fuel for cold weather properties above that called for by ASTM. The original equipment manufacturer and petroleum industries have requested actions like this be taken, and the NBB is being responsive.

The marketing committee's resolution stated, "NBB supports a market-based system to reduce carbon emissions, which includes a recognition of the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of biodiesel." This will encourage the industry to promote biodiesel for its lifecycle carbon reduction and its eligibility as a fuel that can help participate in carbon reduction goals and programs.

For more information on the regulatory committee's resolution, read "Washington watch."

Washington watch: NBB considers issues, policy resolutions
The National Biodiesel Board convened Nov. 13-14 in Washington, D.C., and implemented a new process for the consideration of the positions and resolutions that serve as the basis for NBB's federal affairs advocacy efforts. The process encouraged the input and participation of NBB's membership in crafting new resolutions and reviewing the organization's existing policies.

The consideration of issues and resolutions in NBB's regulatory committee, which focuses on matters pertaining to federal and state affairs, led to the adoption of several new resolutions, including:

Support of public funding for biodiesel fueling stations
Establishment of an internal NBB workgroup to promote to federal policymakers the superior carbon and energy balance properties of biodiesel
Commitment on addressing the food-versus-fuel debate as it relates to biodiesel and engaging constructively to support sustainability standards for domestic biodiesel production.

In addition, the trade committee adopted a resolution stating, "The NBB supports multilateral trade initiatives that strive to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede the free flow of feedstock and fuels. The NBB also supports the use of provisions available under current law to reduce costs for biodiesel producers."

The resolutions adopted by the regulatory and trade committees were unanimously approved by the overall NBB membership and the governing board.

Activities in NBB's regulatory and trade committees also included members of the regulatory committee engaging in a spirited but collegial discussion regarding the structure of the federal renewable fuels standard. Discussion focused on how the program could be best modified to incorporate a renewable requirement for diesel fuel that will help create a stable, viable domestic market for biodiesel. As would be expected, different opinions were expressed regarding the proper size and structure of a biodiesel fuels program.

The regulatory committee, full NBB membership and the governing board decided to stay with the organization's current position that calls for the creation of a Biodiesel Fuels Program as part of the RFS that would provide a 1 billion gallon domestic use requirement for biodiesel by the year 2012. This is consistent with H.R. 3781, introduced by Reps. Baron Hill, D-Ind., and John Shimkus, R-Ill., in the U.S. House, and S. 1616, introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in the U.S. Senate. The NBB actively supports both bills.

As for NBB's existing federal priorities, the NBB has continued its support of efforts to extend the current biodiesel tax incentive, which plays a vital role in helping make biodiesel price competitive with conventional diesel fuel. From a public policy perspective, the tax incentive has succeeded in its original goal of creating a growing domestic biodiesel industry. A long-term extension of the credit will help further this worthwhile policy objective.

NBB also expressed continued support for a reauthorization of the Commodity Credit Corp.'s Bioenergy Program as part of the new Farm Bill. The Bioenergy Program helps biodiesel producers offset feedstock costs, and NBB continues to support a program that is adequately funded and provides support for all gallons of production.

The proper federal policy framework will help the U.S. biodiesel industry succeed. The input and engagement of NBB's membership in formulating the association's positions and resolutions plays a critical role in helping NBB interact with policymakers and federal agencies in a manner that best reflects the industry's priorities.

Members provide valuable webinars
The National Biodiesel Board and its commercial Web site, AllThingsBiodiesel.com, have teamed up with two of its members to offer valuable, free webinars on financial services/lending and risk management/insurance for biodiesel companies.

Biodiesel Financial Services, under parent company Vendor Lease Management Group, manages financial services for dozens of companies and will host its presentation Jan. 24. Huntleigh McGehee, a full-service insurance broker, will present Jan. 17. Both presentations are open to the hosts' fellow members.

Biodiesel Financial Services, in "Financing Options for Equipment Acquisition," will cover where companies can get financing for things other than construction, through banks, loan companies, shareholders and other innovative means. It will also discuss the types of available lease financing and their different structures. "One of the specialties of our company is new renewable fuel companies just starting up," said Vice President Dean Stolberg, who will present the webinar. "We will help them weather the storm until they are self-financing. That's what this webinar will help them do as well."

Huntleigh McGehee's webinar, titled "Is Your Investment Insured Properly?" will discuss insurance and risk management, review various coverage types, and which are right for various business sizes. The presentation will offer information on proper valuation of property, business interruption/extra expense and coinsurance. "We see the alternative fuels market as a growing dynamic industry, similar to the risk management industry," said Vice President Danny Stevens, who will present the session. "We enjoy working with individuals and companies that also see the value in alternative fuels and want to be a part of this important piece of our future."

Parsippany, N.J.-based Biodiesel Financial Services is a private firm financing programs for companies that manufacture test and measurement equipment, and scientific instrumentation. It helps existing and emerging companies in the renewable fuels arena finance and acquire equipment for labs to help analyze the fuel, and other equipment as needed. It also serves companies that might not obtain financing from traditional sources because of a lack of revenue. For more information on Biodiesel Financial Services, visit .

St. Louis-based Huntleigh McGehee is a full-service insurance broker serving accounts throughout the world. It helps clients ensure the best possible coverage for the least amount of premium. Other services include employee benefits. Its specialty industries include oil, gas, renewable fuels and construction. For more information, visit
www.huntleigh-mcgehee.com. Stevens can be reached at dstevens@hmrisk.com or (314) 746-4774.

To register for the webinars and for more details, visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/215992685 for "Financing Options," and https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/199783059 for "Investment Insured Properly." Biodiesel Financial Services and Huntleigh McGehee will provide additional webinars later as requested. Non-members are also welcome.

Valuable education at February conference
The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is the most comprehensive annual forum for biodiesel education. This year's event, held Feb. 3-6 in Orlando, will feature production, technical, fuel distribution, policy/regulations, markets and users tracks, as well as auto and engine manufacturer sessions. The conference also holds non-track conference sessions like BQ-9000 training and a biodiesel production technology course.

Sessions include:
Pipelines: The Underground Pathway to National Supply Assurance
Glycerin is In
Feedstock Procurement and Risk Management
Engine and Vehicle Warranties--Updates from cutting-Edge Biodiesel Supporters
Fuel Quality Survey Says
and B20 Case Studies: Document, Document, Document.

The conference, which continues to grow, offers top-notch general sessions and speakers. On Feb. 3, NBB CEO Joe Jobe and long-term trends analyst Don Reynolds will discuss the conference's theme, "Navigating a Changing Landscape." On Feb. 4, former astronaut Jim Lovell will discuss the challenges space exploration faced, at a time when biodiesel faces its own challenges. Feb. 5 will feature feedstock developments that ensure long-term viability of the industry in "Biodiesel: The Next Generation."

Networking events, including a golf tournament, help strike the right balance of work and play. Pre-registration ends Jan. 25, after which attendees must register on-site at a higher rate. Visit biodieselconference.org for more information.

Biodiesel draws candidates' focus
Two presidential campaign events in Iowa demonstrated the bipartisan support for biodiesel in America. President candidates and Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Hilary Clinton, D-N.Y., participated in separate biodiesel events hosted Nov. 6 by National Biodiesel Board member Renewable Energy Group Inc.

McCain attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for REG's new 60,000-square-foot headquarters and state-of-the-art laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Clinton toured the REG-network Central Iowa Energy LLC biodiesel facility in Newton, Iowa, a community hit hard by the closing of Maytag Corp. operations. Two-thirds of the employees at the 30 MMgy plant used to work at the Maytag facility.
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