Industry assesses impact of EISA, farm bill

By Hope Deutscher | June 17, 2008
Industry experts and suppliers are discussing the impacts that federal mandates in the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 are having on the renewable fuels industry.

The renewable fuels standard in EISA mandates 600 million gallons of advanced biofuel consumption, including biodiesel, in 2009. During a DTN-hosted webcast on the topic in late April, Sherri Cabrera, director of legislative affairs for the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, said the association is specifically concerned about biodiesel pump labeling requirements that will be put into place by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in June. For pumps containing less than 5 percent biomass-based diesel blends (including but not exclusive to biodiesel) and meeting the ASTM D 975 diesel specifications, there are no new labeling requirements. However, B5 to B20 blends will be labeled "contains biomass-based diesel" or "biodiesel in quantities between 5 percent and 20 percent." Blends above B20 will be labeled "contains more than 20 percent biomass-based diesel or biodiesel."

Brandon Wright, manager of communications and the heating fuels division for the PMAA, said the association is concerned about the costs and burdens for its members to meet the biodiesel labeling requirements, which may be too restrictive. The PMAA would like the rule to be more flexible, allowing its members to change the labeling color from purple to green, a color many people already associate with biofuels.

Most recently, despite a veto from U.S. President George W. Bush, Congress has also enacted the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2007, which will further transition the country to next-generation biofuels by helping farmers collect agricultural residues and plant perennial energy crops on less-productive land. Together with EISA, these two bills signal the strong and committed support of the federal government to the future of biofuels, said a statement by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents more than 1,200
biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations in the United States and more than 30 other nations.

The farm bill will reauthorize the Commodity Credit Corp. Bioenergy Program, which provides support to biodiesel producers to offset feedstock costs used to produce the renewable fuel. The National Biodiesel Board said the $300 million provided for the program will help bring some stability to the industry. "The National Biodiesel Board thanks all the senators and congressional leaders who have worked hard to include provisions for biodiesel and the CCC Bioenergy Program," said Joe Jobe, chief executive officer of the NBB.
 
 
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