Biodiesel Industry Voices Disappointment in RFS ProposalFri, 15 Nov 2013 15:13:33 CST
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) warned Friday that the EPA’s proposal for 2014 volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would cause plant closures and layoffs in the U.S. biodiesel industry and called on the Obama Administration to recommit to developing American-made Advanced Biofuels.
“The growth in domestic biodiesel production dovetails exactly with President Obama’s statement in July of this year that ‘biofuels are already reducing our dependence on oil, cutting pollution and creating jobs around the country,’” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “This is why EPA’s action today is so surprising and disappointing.”
“This proposal, if it becomes final, would create a shrinking market, eliminate thousands of jobs and likely cause biodiesel plants to close across the country,” Steckel said “It also sends a terrible signal to investors and entrepreneurs that jeopardizes the future development of biodiesel and other Advanced Biofuels in the United States.”
“This Administration has for years supported strong renewable fuels policies and encouraged investment in this industry,” Steckel added. “The private sector has responded to these policies by meeting or exceeding the Advanced Biofuels requirements in every year of the RFS. The Administration should be celebrating that success and continuing the momentum, not retreating.”
Biodiesel production is on track to set a production record exceeding 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.
Amanda Cunningham of Veros Energy, a biodiesel producer in Moundville, Ala., is among those in the industry whose job is at risk under the proposal. Cunningham and her husband both work at the company, supporting a family of six children.
“If biodiesel volumes are decreased, it has a hard, hard trickle down impact,” Cunningham said. “We would surely have layoffs; layoffs reduce production; reduced production drops the bottom line; and at that point the plant might as well shut down.”
The draft proposal is particularly challenging because excess biodiesel production in 2013 can be carried over for compliance into 2014. As a result, the 1.28 billion gallon proposal could mean an effective market closer to 1 billion gallons - a dramatic reduction from current production.
“Our industry has been running recently at 170 million gallons per month - an annualized rate of 2 billion gallons. This proposal could nearly cut that in half,” Steckel said. “We will continue urging the Administration to improve this rule before it becomes final.”
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