ASA responds to EPA’s proposed RFS volume requirements for biodiesel

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – On May 29, the Environmental Protection Agency released its Proposed Rule to establish the volume requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard, including the volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. EPA proposes setting the biomass-based diesel volumes at the following levels:

• 2014 – 1.63 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 2.68 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels

• 2015 – 1.7 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 2.9 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels

• 2016 – 1.8 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 3.4 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels

• 2017 – 1.9 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel

The volumes proposed by EPA are certainly an improvement over the previous proposal, which would have set the Biomass-based Diesel requirements at 1.28 billion gallons for 2014 and 2015. The increases proposed by EPA will provide some benefit and certainty to the domestic biodiesel industry and to soybean growers who supply much of the feedstock. However, the proposed volumes do not fully recognize or capitalize on the capacity and further growth potential of U.S. biodiesel.

American Soybean Association President Wade Cowan noted that ASA believes the EPA and the Obama Administration could do more to capitalize on additional benefits that could be achieved with more robust biomass-based diesel volumes, however he welcomed the release of the Proposed Rule and expressed the association’s hope that this action is a further sign of a return to schedule on the implementation of the RFS.

“Again, we are glad to see the volumes for biomass-based diesel increased above the previous proposal. Biodiesel provides significant economic and environmental benefits and we have the capacity to do more,” Cowan said. “The administration wants to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and biodiesel – a domestically produced, renewable fuel that is proven to achieve emissions reductions up to 86 percent better than petroleum diesel – can contribute more to that effort.”

There will be a 60 day public comment period and EPA intends to finalize the rule by November 30, 2015.

“We’re hardly done fighting for biodiesel,” Cowan added. “As we have in the preceding months and years, ASA will continue to point out the benefits and importance of this critical market for soybean farmers.”

By law, EPA is supposed to finalize biomass-based diesel volumes 14 months in advance of the applicable year, making the agency significantly overdue in setting the volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“ASA will continue to work, along with the U.S. biodiesel industry, to support the RFS and to highlight the many benefits that biodiesel provides to the nation, to rural communities, and to soybean growers,” Cowan added.