40 US senators call for higher biodiesel targets in RFS

By The National Biodiesel Board | July 21, 2016

Forty U.S. senators from across the country called on the EPA July 21 to strengthen biodiesel volumes in the pending renewable fuel standard (RFS) proposal.

The senators emphasized that biodiesel and renewable diesel are leading the way in delivering advanced biofuels under the RFS and said the EPA should do more to encourage their growth. 

“The biodiesel industry has met RFS criteria for growth, exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005 and supporting over 47,000 jobs,” the letter states. “To date, biodiesel and renewable diesel have delivered the majority of the advanced biofuels under the RFS. We believe it is clear that these fuels offer the best opportunity for growth in the near future.”

The letter, which can be found here, was led by Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, Patty Murray, D-Washington, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota. It was signed by a bipartisan group of additional senators from California to Minnesota to Maine.

Biodiesel, made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, is the first and only EPA-designated advanced biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. It has made up the vast majority of advanced biofuel production under the RFS to date.

According to the EPA, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared with petroleum diesel.

“I think this letter reflects a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that biodiesel and renewable diesel are successfully delivering the economic and environmental benefits that Congress had in mind when it created the RFS,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board. “This is a success story, and hopefully this letter helps show the Obama administration and the EPA that we need to do more. We need to embrace growth in our cleanest fuels, and the EPA proposal as it stands falls short of that.”

“On behalf of biodiesel producers around the country we want to thank all the senators who signed this letter, particularly Sens. Blunt, Murray, Grassley and Heitkamp for their leadership in organizing the effort,” Steckel added.

The RFS, a bipartisan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush, requires increasing volumes of renewable fuels in the U.S. fuel stream and specifically calls for increasing volumes of advanced biofuels in the coming years.

Biodiesel and renewable diesel—a similar diesel alternative—fall under the biomass-based diesel category of the RFS, which is an advanced biofuel category intended to ensure that the policy also addresses the diesel fuel market, not just gasoline. Under the law, advanced biofuels must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum fuels.

The EPA proposal would establish a 2.1-billion-gallon biomass-based diesel requirement in 2018, up only slightly from the already established 2-billion-gallon requirement for 2017. Citing unused industry capacity and data showing that biomass-based diesel consumption is already exceeding 2.1 billion gallons annually, the senators called for at least 2.5 billion gallons for 2018.

Click here to view the letter and the additional senators supporting higher biodiesel targets.

With nearly 200 member companies, NBB is the leading U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries.


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