Bipartisan lawmakers urge Obama to maintain biodiesel Renewable Fuel Standard

By Breanne Brammer

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON June 27, 2014 - A bipartisan group of 52 lawmakers wrote President Obama yesterday to encourage biodiesel production by bucking an EPA proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In a letter to President Obama, legislators expressed worry that lowering the biofuel standard would cause biodiesel plants to close and America to increase its dependence on foreign oil.

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“Should the EPA choose not to raise biodiesel's volume above 1.28 billion gallons, we believe it will have a terrible impact on the domestic biodiesel industry, and could lead to the closure of numerous biodiesel plants, with smaller producers taking the largest impact,” lawmakers wrote in the letter.

The letter was led by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and lawmakers from 22 states.

A November EPA draft rule would lower the biofuel RFS to 1.28 billion gallons. According to a LMC International report, 2013 saw nearly 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel production, creating $16.8 billion in total economic impact and supporting 62,000 jobs.  

Biodiesel is the only commercial-scale fuel produced in the U.S. that meets the EPA's definition of an Advanced Biofuel. These are fuels the EPA has identified as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum diesel.

 “[Biodiesel] is an RFS success story that is delivering tremendous benefits to the nation in terms of cleaner air, jobs, and diversity in the fuels markets that is helping consumers,” said  Anne Steckel, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) vice president of federal affairs. “We need consistent federal policy to continue the progress we've made, and we are urging the Administration to finalize a strong RFS volume as quickly as possible.”

As of April 2014, there are 96 biodiesel plants in the U.S. with a capacity to produce 2.1 billion gallons per year.

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