NBB Launches 3-Part Plan to Strengthen RFS Efforts

By Joe Jobe | July 10, 2013

Recent events in Congress have raised the volume level of the voices critical of the renewable fuel standard (RFS). Hearings in June held by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform featured mostly anti-RFS industry officials including the head of the American Petroleum Institute. As the National Biodiesel Board continues to closely monitor RFS activities on the Hill, it is anticipated that the RFS will come under strong scrutiny in the coming months.

The RFS is currently the strongest and most important federal policy issue related to biodiesel. We are prepared to respond rapidly to any direct criticism of the biodiesel industry and will be calling on biodiesel stakeholders to make their voices heard in Washington to protect the RFS.

Members of NBB’s governing board had the foresight to see that, as the RFS continues to move forward and grow, the opposition would continue to ramp up its attacks. Thanks to that foresight from industry leadership, NBB is pleased to announce a new three-part plan to help fortify our ongoing resources and to go on the offensive for America’s advanced biofuel.

The biodiesel industry continues to receive strong bipartisan support from both Congress and the administration; however, the RFS, due to many issues not related to biodiesel, has received a great deal of negative scrutiny in the House of Representatives. Biodiesel has never been a partisan issue but as the dynamics in Washington continue to change and become increasingly polarized, our challenge is to ensure that this bipartisan support continues, particularly with new members who are not familiar with biodiesel and are, at times, skeptical or hostile toward renewable energy. Due to these changing dynamics, NBB has hired former U.S. Rep. Kenney Hulshof, a Republican from Missouri, on an interim basis for direct outreach to this targeted group. Hulshof is a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee and has been a biodiesel champion for many years. His experience will be a major asset for the biodiesel industry in targeting the negative opinions of biodiesel on the House side.

The second announcement relating to strengthening the biodiesel industry’s position within the RFS is on the regulatory side. To assist our team moving forward as we anticipate increasingly difficult regulatory battles on the RFS, NBB is proud to welcome Lindsay Fitzgerald to the staff as the director of regulatory affairs. Fitzgerald comes to NBB from the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality and has been working directly on the RFS for the past six years. Her extensive knowledge of the program will be a key asset as the industry continues to work with EPA to implement the RFS.

Part three is the recent launch of year three of the Advanced Biofuel Initiative, the national education campaign for biodiesel. Designed to educate and inform key audiences about biodiesel benefits, its timing and messages lay a fact-based foundation that complements the dues-funded advocacy efforts of the industry. The campaign has been highly effective the past two years to educate the public on what biodiesel is and what it can do. The third year of the campaign focuses on why Americans should care. The campaign makes the point that consumers and taxpayers are better protected by having a diversified portfolio of transportation fuels. The comprehensive campaign includes a 30-second TV commercial airing on national television networks and on Washington, D.C., broadcast, and cable news outlets. The campaign also includes print, radio, online, and social media ads, as well as an in-depth website that includes a nine-minute minidocumentary. The campaign can be seen at www.americasadvancedbiofuel.com and is scheduled to run into the fall.

This three-part plan will help fortify and strengthen our already robust program as we continue to maintain the biodiesel industry’s No. 1 priority, the RFS. Detractors of the RFS are leading well-coordinated and well-funded political attacks to scrutinize the policy. Biodiesel is one of the bright spots of the policy and these three new initiatives will help us tell our positive story.

Joe Jobe, CEO, National Biodiesel Board

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