Senators urge EPA to boost biodiesel volumes

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 20, 2015 - A bipartisan group of 36 senators is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the proposed volumes it set for biodiesel production under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). 

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“While the proposal is a positive step for biodiesel, we remain concerned that the proposed biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 fail to adequately recognize the domestic biodiesel industry's production capacity and its ability to increase production,” the lawmakers said in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.  

“Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the RFS to reach commercial scale production nationwide. It is exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005, while creating jobs, generating tax revenues, reducing pollution, and improving energy security. We urge you to support continued growth in the domestic biodiesel industry by making reasonable and sustainable increases in the biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 in the final rule.”

The senators, led by Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Roy Blunt of Missouri, and Democrats Patty Murray of Washington and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, said the EPA's prior delays in setting biodiesel volumes led to tremendous uncertainty and hardship for U.S. biodiesel producers and thousands of their employees, causing reduced production and even shutdowns, leading to layoffs and lost economic productivity

They also said that the agency's decision earlier this year to allow imports from Argentinean renewable fuel producers to participate in the RFS must be considered, and biodiesel volumes must be set at high enough levels to prevent displacement of domestic production

The EPA's proposed volumes for 2014 through 2017 are expected to become final by November 30, giving the agency an opportunity to increase them before then, the lawmakers wrote. The public comment period on the current proposal closes July 27.

Click here to see a full text of the letter and the list of signatories.

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