Udall renewable fuel parity bill introduced in Senate

By Erin Voegele | September 21, 2011

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced a bill on Sept. 15 that aims to level the playing field for advanced biofuels by altering certain elements of the renewable fuel standard to make it more “technology neutral.” The bill, known as the Renewable Fuel Parity Act of 2011, or S.1564, ultimately makes several changes to the language included in the Section 211 of the Clean Air Act.

According to a copy of the legislation provided by Udall’s office, the act could “improve the [RFS] program by combining the categories of ‘cellulosic biofuel’ and ‘advanced biofuel’ into one technology- and feedstock-neutral category of ‘advanced biofuel.’” The legislation would change the definition of advanced biofuel to mean both renewable fuel, other than corn ethanol, that has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50 percent less than the baseline, and cellulosic fuel. It would also add the term “other fuel derived from algae” to the definition.  The bill would also remove the term “cellulosic biofuel” from several places within the section.

The Algae Biomass Organization has spoken out in support of the bill. “The Algal Biomass Organization applauds Senators Udall and Crapo for understanding the potential of algae technology to create jobs and increase energy independence while recognizing that the current renewable fuels policy is an inhibitor to our industry’s growth,” said ABO Executive Director Mary Rosenthal. “With this, we support the Renewable Fuel Parity Act of 2011 as presented today. We share his view that algae-based fuels should be at parity with other renewable fuels in the tax code and in fuel standards. We will continue to work with Senator Udall on his initiative, similar House sponsored legislation, and others in Congress to accelerate the commercial development of fuels made from algae through fair and effective policies.”

Udall introduced S.1564 on Sept. 14. The bill was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He spoke about the legislation in August during a tour at New Mexico State University. For more on that event, please see “Udall introduces bill to level advanced biofuels playing field.” 


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