ASA to EPA on RFS: ‘We Can Do More than a Slow Crawl Forward’
WASHINGTON – In comments to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy on July 11, the American Soybean Association (ASA) urged EPA to increase the volumes for biomass-based diesel to 2.5 billion gallons for 2018, an increase of 400 million gallons over the levels in the Proposed Rule.
“Our differences with EPA’s proposed volumes are relatively small, but they are important,” wrote ASA President Richard Wilkins in the association’s comments. “The EPA and the Administration are missing an easy opportunity to help the agriculture and rural economy while at the same time achieving greater greenhouse gas emissions reductions – a high priority for EPA and this Administration.”
“While EPA’s Proposed Rule does move forward with biomass-based diesel volumes, increasing them from 2.0 to 2.1 billion gallons from 2017 to 2018, we can – and should – do more,” added Wilkins. “Given the many benefits that biodiesel provides, we think EPA should enthusiastically support more aggressive, but easily achievable, volume targets for biodiesel. We see no reason why EPA should not, at a minimum, support biomass-based diesel volumes of 2.5 billion gallons for 2018.”
ASA argued that EPA’s proposed requirements fail to capture either the current capacity or the potential growth for biodiesel.
“An increase of biomass-based diesel volume requirements to 2.5 billion gallons in 2018 is achievable and warranted,” wrote Wilkins. “There is idle domestic production capacity and ample, price-competitive feedstock available to supply increased domestic biodiesel production. … While the Proposed Rule does increase biomass-based diesel volumes, these proposed volumes are below the registered production capacity in the United States, below the amounts utilized in the U.S. in 2015 and the amounts expected to be utilized in 2016 and 2017.
Wilkins pointed in the comments to the significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential of biodiesel as a key reason EPA should more fully embrace and recognize biodiesel in the RFS moving forward.
“By EPA’s assessment, biodiesel achieves greenhouse gas emissions reductions ranging from 50 percent to 86 percent better than petroleum diesel,” wrote Wilkins. “These significant GHG emission reductions achieved by biodiesel makes it hard to understand EPA’s reluctance to embrace more aggressive biomass-based diesel RFS volumes. The Administration and EPA have repeatedly cited that reducing emissions is a priority and the energy sector has been a primary focal point in achieving this goal.”
“Given the economic and environmental benefits of biodiesel, we believe that the soybean industry and the EPA should be allies on RFS issues,” concluded Wilkins. “We can do more than a slow crawl forward.”