Jobe: 'RIN fraud is not a victimless crime,' staffs task force

By Ron Kotrba | February 06, 2012

National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe kicked off the 2012 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Orlando by noting that the U.S. has not had a “consistent, clear energy policy” in the past four decades. Instead, Jobe said, U.S. energy policy has been only about protecting strategic national interests in the Persian Gulf, the latest display of which is a “battle of brinkmanship with Iran.”

He made reference to the end of the Iraq war, the “largest, second most expensive war in U.S. history,” and now the U.S. teeters on a war with Iran, a country that is three times larger than Iraq and “richer than ever.”

“Obama dropped more bombs than any Nobel Peace prize winner in history,” Jobe said.

Jobe assured the audience of roughly 1,200 biodiesel industry stakeholders that he was not taking an anti-oil stance. “We have a proven partnership of working together,” he said.

From 2010 to 2011, the U.S. biodiesel industry experienced a 300 percent growth rate, he noted, thanks to the renewable fuel standard (RFS2) and the federal tax credit working in tandem. While RFS2 is to be thanked for a record year of production, Jobe said “it has its wrinkles to iron out—and it can work as Congress intended.”

Joe commended the EPA for its commitment to the RFS2 and its work to help determine a clear, predictable, sustainable growth path for the U.S. biodiesel industry. He noted that the agency postponed its 2013 rulemaking after proposing a 1.28 billion gallon biomass-based diesel carve-out for next year. The most immediate threat to long-term stability in our industry, Jobe said, is if the EPA were to decide against growing next year’s carve-out in such a modest, sustainable manner.

“We’ve turned a corner in a very transformational way,” Jobe told the audience. “We’re committed to innovation and competitiveness. In 2011 we reached our tipping point,” he said, advising that we as an industry need to recognize the transformational tipping point we just experienced. Having said that, Jobe expressed that RFS2 is still considered “new and vulnerable to attack,” and, therefore the success and protection of RFS2 is the NBB’s—the industry’s—top priority. He made it a point to argue for the reinstatement of the once-again-lapsed $1 per gallon federal blenders tax credit, saying that it “reduces RFS compliance costs.”

Jobe’s speech took on a much graver tone as he mentioned the absolute need for RIN integrity, citing the two well-known cases of RIN fraud brought to light last year. He commended the EPA and the secret service for its diligence in bringing those defrauders to justice in charging them with the fullest extent of the law. The message: “If you commit RIN fraud, you will go to jail. It is not a victimless crime.” As a result of the RIN fraud debacle, medium and small plants are unable to monetize their RINs.

To combat these very serious issues, Jobe said he and NBB Chairman Gary Haer are heading up a new RIN integrity task force of which obligated parties, members of EPA, producers and other stakeholders will be a part. Jobe said prior to joining the NBB, he was a fraud investigator. He mentioned how the secret service was formed by Pres. Abraham Lincoln to bust currency counterfeiters.

“Opponents to the RFS will use any flaw to characterize it as a failed program,” he said. “The free market is their stance. There is nothing unfettered about energy markets—they are, what you call, ‘fettered.’”

Sustained high oil prices followed by sudden price drops are, by design, orchestrated to beat out energy alternatives, he said. Going back to Iran, Jobe said that nation holds 5 percent of the world’s oil production. If Iran chose to shut down its own oil production for only a couple of months, it could easily send the U.S. back into a deep recession.

Jobe closed his remarks by asking what biodiesel was to him. When he drives his American-made diesel pickup truck on a blend of home-grown domestic biodiesel, biodiesel to him, he said, is freedom. 


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