The biodiesel industry is calling the required volumes of the advanced biofuels category under the Renewable Fuel Standard shortsighted in reaction to the EPA’s release of the 2018 RVO proposal. The amount of increase in biodiesel from 2017 to 2018 was a mere 100 million gallons. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is calling on the EPA to set volumes that more closely match the biodiesel industry’s potential.
“We commend EPA for releasing their proposed biomass-based diesel volumes in a timely manner. But as the top biodiesel-producing state, those of us in Iowa know that the biodiesel industry can achieve much more significant growth in 2018 than what EPA currently calls for in this proposal,” stated IBB Executive Director Grant Kimberley. “Nationally, our industry already has the feedstock and the production capacity to reach 2.5 billion gallons in a sustainable manner, and we’re disappointed this proposal is quite far from that industry recommendation. The proposed number, 2.1 billion gallons, is still too low, especially since we are facing biodiesel imports, some of which have the benefit of foreign subsidies.
Kimberly noted that biodiesel offers a tremendous opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assist the U.S. as well as other countries, in meeting climate goals. “In fact, under the RFS law, Advanced Biofuels must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum fuels, and according to the EPA, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent.”
The country’s largest biodiesel producer, Renewable Energy Group (REG) put a positive spin on the proposal that calls for 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel for 2018. “We are pleased that EPA has again proposed continued growth of biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel volumes. This proposal provides greater certainty in the marketplace, reflects the expanding usage and blend levels consumers want, and points towards continuing growth for the cleaner, lower carbon intensity fuel we produce,” stated REG President and CEO Daniel J. Oh.
“We are very appreciative of the advanced biofuel advocates within the Administration and on Capitol Hill for their consistent support.” Oh added, “We will continue to work alongside our industry partners to provide the EPA, OMB and other federal agencies additional market data that will support additional growth in the D4 (biomass-based diesel) and D5 (general advanced biofuel) categories, as we believe that there is a compelling basis for further increases over time.”
American Soybean Association (ASA) President Richard Wilkins took the opportunity to highlight the success of the biodiesel industry in not only meeting, but exceeding, RFS biodiesel targets, and calls on the EPA to reflect these achievements. He notes that the biodiesel industry provides a market outlet for surplus soybean oil as well as animal fats and other renewable ag feedstocks.
“The EPA Proposed Rule misses an opportunity to build on the success and benefits of this growing renewable domestic biodiesel industry,” stressed Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del. “While our differences with EPA regarding the appropriate biomass-based diesel volumes are relatively small, we are frustrated that the Administration does not embrace the many benefits this industry provides and take better advantage of these opportunities.”
“As an industry we have always advocated for RFS volumes that are modest and achievable and the biodiesel industry has met or exceeded the targets each and every year that the program has been in place,” Wilkins reiterated. “The American Soybean Association looks forward, once again, to providing comments to EPA to demonstrate and support the advancement of a more aggressive biomass-based diesel program in the Final Rule.”