Soy Growers: Biodiesel can do more than the RFS calls for
WASHINGTON – On May 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) Agency released the Proposed Rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements, including the volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2018. The Proposed Rule calls for 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2018.
The biomass-based diesel requirements for 2016 and 2017 are 1.9 billion and 2.0 billion gallons, respectively. The Proposed Rule continues to provide modest increases for biomass-based diesel, which according to the American Soybean Association (ASA) does not capitalize on the opportunity for greater growth, especially considering the existing production capacity, feedstock availability and price, and the growing volumes of imports. The biomass-based diesel utilization in the U.S. was approximately 2.1 billion gallons in 2015 and is expected to exceed that amount in 2016.
“The EPA Proposed Rule misses an opportunity to build on the success and benefits of this growing renewable domestic biodiesel industry,” said ASA President Richard 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.”
The biodiesel industry provides a market outlet for surplus soybean oil as well as animal fats and other renewable agricultural feedstocks; a more diversified energy market; increased domestic energy production; reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; new jobs and economic development; expanded markets; and reduced soy meal feed costs.
“As we have said before, biodiesel provides significant economic and environmental benefits and we have the capacity to do more,” said Wilkins. “The Administration wants to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and biodiesel can contribute more to that effort.”
Biodiesel is a domestically-produced, renewable fuel that is proven to achieve emissions reductions ranging from 57 to 86 percent and is the first and only Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. Biodiesel has made up the vast majority of Advanced Biofuel production under the RFS to date. Accounting for approximately half of the feedstock used, soybean oil remains the largest source of oil for biodiesel production.
“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.”