CLOSE THE BOOKS
While 2011 was a monumental year for U.S. biodiesel as the industry came back from near collapse the year before, 2012 is probably best forgotten, all things considered. Overall, domestic production remained strong despite the fact that RIN fraud essentially defined the industry to some—to those who only know of biodiesel because of the scandal. For a different lot, perhaps catastrophic fires at production sites from Germany to Canada to Louisiana now characterize this industry. To others, maybe the word “limited” now portrays biodiesel’s future, given Europe’s very recent proposal to include the unsound science of indirect land use change in its Renewable Energy Directive. And who could forget the prolonged biodiesel trade war between Spain and Argentina?
If the petroleum industry can bounce back from rock bottom after the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf—killing 11 workers and injuring 17—so strongly that just two years later it got nary a mention as presidential candidates debated who was the bigger champion of oil, then these unfortunate events suffered by the biodiesel industry in 2012 are petroleum-free water under the bridge.
For me and everyone I know in this integrity-filled, safety-conscious, resilient, unlimited, green industry of biodiesel, 2013 is sure to be a remarkable year. The fact that, despite these misfortunes endured all year, the U.S. EPA saw past those anomalies and increased the biomass-based diesel carve-out in the renewable fuel standard by 280 million gallons (from 1 billion to 1.28 billion gallons) speaks volumes. Provided Congress does not intervene while EPA and private industry are correcting deficiencies in the RIN program, the new year promises to bring with it a sounder, fairer regulation of the RIN market for everyone.