Industry Perseverance Pays in 2015

By Joe Jobe | January 19, 2016

Hardship. Uncertainty. Perseverance. It may sound a bit like a broken record if you’ve been around this industry very long, but the challenges we’ve faced over the course of our history aren’t for the faint of heart. And much like the other challenges of our past, this industry again stepped up with a strong, united front and succeeded.

October 2015 marked the two-year anniversary of the infamous leaked draft renewable volume obligation (RVO) proposal that signaled the U.S. EPA’s intention to cap biomass-based diesel at 1.28 billion gallons for two years and presumably forevermore. It launched us on a two-year odyssey that cast the future of the industry into a state of limbo.

The National Biodiesel Board’s top priorities for 2015 all fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. 1) Finalize RVOs for 2014-’16 with a path for growth, 2) extend the biodiesel tax credit, 3) educate biofuel detractors on the benefits of biodiesel to their goals, and 4) continue to maintain a unified biodiesel industry and coordinate membership to be able to continue the powerful leveraging of resources.

I’m proud to say that as of this writing, we were in a good position to achieve all four of these goals by the end of the year. The renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes were finalized with growth in the biomass-based diesel category to 2 billion gallons in 2017. NBB’s various expert testimony at the June public hearing, as well as our comprehensive comments submitted in July, and our continued advocacy gave extensive evidence that our industry can do even more in 2016 and 2017 to help the RFS achieve its advanced biofuels goals and strengthen the overall program. The volumes were not as high as they could have been, but were much better than the 1.28-billion-gallon proposal where they started.

We’ve seen strong bipartisan support for the biodiesel tax incentive with legislation included in both House and Senate versions of tax packages in 2015. There has also been momentum to transition to a producer’s credit as of this writing. A production credit has been an industry priority for more than six years and would help concentrate taxpayer support on U.S. companies stimulating growth in domestic production.

The Advanced Biofuel Acceleration Project is the single largest program in NBB’s history and is the only national educational campaign for biodiesel. Along with educating the general public and key decision makers on the benefits of biodiesel, it has allowed us to reach specific detractor groups like environmental organizations and the livestock industry on their own turf. We have been able to build the case for biodiesel through independent data and show them how it helps them reach their own industry goals.

And finally, our successes over the past two years couldn’t have happened without priority No. 4, maintaining a unified industry. With members in 44 states and three Canadian provinces, our voice in Washington, D.C., is much louder than other industries our size because we have a unified message coming from a diverse coalition of companies from across the country.

The success of the biodiesel industry is a direct result of the diverse, united coalition we have built. We are large, publicly traded corporations and small businesses, Midwesterners and West Coasters, entrepreneurs and farmers, including our soybean partners who have so generously invested in us with both their policy support and checkoff dollars. This partnership has increased and leveraged the value of everyone’s dollars and afforded the industry as a united group to do more than any of us could have done individually. Our industry goals couldn’t have been achieved without the relentless, diverse, unified, collective voice of an industry standing together.

We must not let up as we push for a more robust policy and continued market expansion in 2016. We must protect the industry we built and continue to move forward. It won’t be easy, but together we will continue our record of success.

Joe Jobe
CEO
National Biodiesel Board

 
 
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