WASHINGTON – Dozens of biodiesel stakeholders from across the country are heading to Capitol Hill Tuesday to support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and voice strong disappointment with the Obama Administration’s recent proposal for next year’s renewable fuels volumes.
Among those making the trip is Ben Wootton, a biodiesel producer from Pennsylvania, who said his plant is likely to close under the EPA’s volume proposal announced last week.
“If the EPA freezes the biomass-based diesel target, it would put our company out of business,” said Wootton, president and CEO of Keystone BioFuels of Camp Hill, Pa. “Keystone is just starting to come out of a reorganization plan. The EPA proposed freeze on biomass-based diesel would essentially cut our current market in half and force us to shut our doors. It would be a major step back for the environment and the economy in our state.”
Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, said more than 100 biodiesel supporters, representing more than two dozen states from California to Iowa to North Carolina, will be making sure their members of Congress understand that this proposal will eliminate jobs and threaten production in their states.
“Our producers are frustrated and disappointed that the Administration, with no explanation, is essentially freezing a growing Advanced Biofuel industry for the next two years at production levels far below where they are today,” Steckel said. “Biodiesel is an RFS success story, and this proposal turns its back on that success and on the producers who have made it happen.”
Biodiesel production is on track to set a production record of approximately 1.7 billion gallons this year, using an increasingly diverse mix of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, agricultural oils and animal fats. The EPA’s proposed rule for next year would set biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons while shrinking the overall Advanced requirement to 2.2 billion gallons. The biodiesel category is a subset of the overall Advanced category.
The draft proposal is particularly damaging because it freezes the biodiesel reduction for two years – 2014 and 2015. Additionally, because excess biodiesel production in 2013 can be carried over for compliance into 2014 the 1.28 billion gallon proposal for 2014 could mean an effective market closer to 1 billion gallons – a dramatic reduction from current levels.
Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Produced in nearly every state in the country, the industry has exceeded RFS requirements in every year of the program, producing more than 1 billion gallons annually since 2011. It is supporting more than 62,000 jobs nationwide. NBB is the U.S. biodiesel trade association.