REG leaders testify at EPA hearing on 2014 RFS proposal
Leaders from Renewable Energy Group joined more than two dozen biodiesel advocates in providing testimony at an EPA hearing on the proposed 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes.
Gary Haer, REG vice president of sales and marketing, and Bruce Lutes, general manager of the company’s biodiesel refineries in Danville, Ill., and Newton, Iowa, shared their perspectives on why the EPA should increase the biomass-based diesel renewable volume obligation (RVO) for 2014 to at least 1.7 billion gallons.
Haer focused on this year’s record biodiesel production and the corresponding environmental benefits. “This year’s projected volume of more than 1.7 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 billion pounds when compared to petroleum diesel fuel,” Haer told the panel. “That’s an additional 8 billion pounds of GHG reductions than if we produced 1.28 billion gallons, which means the cost of carbon of biodiesel is dramatically lower than the cost of carbon of diesel fuel.”
Haer also questioned why EPA officials used outdated data in its proposal instead of current figures showing ample availability of biodiesel feedstocks, decreased cost of production, and increasing biodiesel blend rates across the country. “All of the data used to support the proposed volume of 1.28 billion gallons in the 2014 was the same data that EPA used to set the RVO at 1.28 billion gallons in 2012. The data EPA relied upon for the 2014 proposal is from 2011, ignoring the gains the industry has made over the last two years,” Haer said.
Lutes, who manages REG facilities in two communities hard hit by massive job losses, focused on what the biodiesel industry means to local economies. “The current Danville area unemployment rate is close to 13 percent and we need these jobs more than ever before,” Lutes said.
Lutes also focused on the larger number of indirect jobs supported by the biodiesel industry. “We had almost 14,000 truck deliveries in and out of the Danville plant alone last year. To those who say the RFS forces the government to pick winners and losers, I say this policy is a winner for jobs, the economy, energy security, and most definitely for the environment. The only way you pick a loser here is by picking the numbers in this proposal,” Lutes said.
Renewable Energy Group is a leading North American biodiesel producer with a nationwide distribution and logistics system. Utilizing an integrated value chain model, Renewable Energy Group is focused on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels. With more than 255 million gallons of owned/operated annual nameplate production capacity at biorefineries across the country, REG is a proven biodiesel partner in the distillate marketplace.
For more than a decade, REG has been a reliable supplier of biodiesel which meets or exceeds ASTM quality specifications. It sells REG-9000 biodiesel to distributors so Americans can have cleaner burning fuels that help lessen dependence on foreign oil. REG-9000-branded biodiesel is distributed in nearly every state in the U.S.