The pending EPA rule establishing biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a pivotal decision for the U.S. biodiesel industry. The EPA has has proposed draft annual volumes through 2017 that would provide modest growth for the biodiesel sector. While this is a step in the right direction, the biodiesel industry is pressing for additional growth that better reflects the true production capacity of the industry and public benefits of strong biodiesel growth.
The final rule, expected in November, will significantly shape the future of our industry - as well as our ability to reduce our dependence on petroleum and improve our future energy security, economy and environment. We urge all biodiesel supporters to be vocal and aggressive in your advocacy to support strong RFS growth for biodiesel. The deadline for comments was July 27, so the opportunity to submit comments to the EPA docket has closed. (NBB submitted exhaustive comments that can be found here).
While the formal comment period is closed, please continue to weigh in regularly with your lawmakers in Congress. Also consider writing a letter to the editor or op-ed in your local newspaper highlighting the resounding success of biodiesel as America's first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide.
On the right side of this page you will find the documents you need to stay engaged on this issue, including talking points about job creation, emissions reduction and other benefits, as well as a compilation of op-eds and news coverage that could help you craft your own media outreach. Our Washington office is always available to help, so please don't hesitate to call us at 202-737-8801.
To reach your members of Congress:
Quick Talking Points
- Advanced Biofuel, Here Now: Biodiesel is the most successful EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel in the U.S, and the first to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. It is proving that Advanced Biofuels are here today, working to reduce harmful emissions, create jobs and increase our energy security by diversifying fuel supplies. Congress and the White House should continue that success with modest, sustainable growth under the RFS.
- Jobs and Economic Impact: The biodiesel industry supported more than 62,000 jobs over the past two years, with plants in nearly every state in the country. However, the RFS uncertainty has forced widespread cutbacks and sharply reduced production in the industry. A 2014 survey of biodiesel producers found that more than half had idled their plants, 78 percent had reduced production compared with 2013, and 66 percent have laid off workers or anticipate laying off workers. Overall production fell slightly between 2013 and 2014 for the first time since the RFS2 was implemented, and these negative impacts will escalate significantly without an EPA proposal soon that calls for significant growth.
- Reducing Harmful and Costly Emissions: According to the EPA, biodiesel reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel. With nearly 8.2 billion gallons used from 2004 to 2014, biodiesel has cut carbon pollution by 75.5 million metric tons – the same impact as removing more than 15.9 million passenger vehicles from America’s roadways. Additionally, the EPA consistently cites tailpipe emissions from traditional diesel – primarily from older trucking fleets and other heavy-duty vehicles – as a major national health hazard. Substituting higher amounts of biodiesel for traditional diesel fuel is the simplest, most effective way to immediately reduce diesel emissions.
- Improving U.S. Energy Security: The biodiesel industry is increasing domestic energy production, diversifying our fuel supplies and expanding domestic refining capacity so that we’re not so vulnerable to global oil markets and associated refining bottlenecks. This improves U.S. energy security because despite increased U.S. oil production, petroleum is a global commodity, and U.S. consumers will continue to be at the mercy of heavily manipulated global petroleum prices until we have diversity in the market. Recent decisions from OPEC to steer those markets shows the continued danger to our economy and national security from our dependence on petroleum.
- Ensuring Domestic Production Under RFS: Biodiesel is the only domestic EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel delivering significant volumes under the RFS. In fact, biodiesel in recent years has produced enough fuel to fill the vast majority of the Advanced category. The only other fuel filling a significant portion of the Advanced category is imported sugarcane ethanol. Without specific action by EPA to expand the Biomass-based Diesel category, these cheaper imports of sugarcane ethanol would likely continue growing, displacing domestic production and contributing further to the ethanol “blendwall.” The only way to ensure larger domestic production of Advanced Biofuels under the RFS while avoiding “blendwall” concerns is to continue growing the biodiesel requirement.
- Addressing the Diesel Market: It was always the intent of Congress that the RFS address not just the gasoline market but also the diesel pool, which fuels pivotal transportation and industrial applications such as long-haul trucks, buses, barges, and heavy machinery and which accounts for a significant share of the nation’s air pollution in the transportation sector. You simply can’t have effective renewable fuels policy without addressing the diesel market with diesel alternatives, Additionally, growing the Biomass-based Diesel pool does not contribute to the ethanol “blendwall.”
Helping Consumers at the Pump: Biodiesel is a cost-effective renewable alternative to petroleum diesel that, with help from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is saving diesel consumers money. Each gallon of RFS-qualified biodiesel is accompanied by a RIN credit. The value of that credit, which is traded on the open market, is factored into the value of each gallon of biodiesel. This added value allows producers to sell biodiesel at a lower price to fuel distributors or fleet managers, who can then pass along savings to consumers. Consider the following comments from market stakeholders:
- Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Testimony before U.S. House Armed Forced Committee, April 16, 2013: “This past year the Navy purchased a B20 blend (80 percent conventional/20 percent biodiesel) for the steam plant at the St. Julien's Creek Annex, near Norfolk, VA. The cost of the B20 is 13 cents per gallon less expensive than conventional fuel, and is projected to save the facility approximately $30,000 over the 2012-2013 heating season.”
- Mayor Sherman Guyton of Gadsden, Ala., which is saving about $100,000 annually by switching much of the city’s fleet to 20 percent biodiesel blends:“We are being kinder to our environment, we are saving money and we are reducing our dependence on foreign oil. There’s no downside. It’s a win, win, win situation.” (Gadsden Times - May 30, 2013).
Feedstock Diversity: Biodiesel is one of the most diverse fuels in the world, produced using a broad mix of resources including recycled cooking oil, agricultural oils and animal fats. This has helped shape a nimble industry that is constantly searching for new technologies and feedstocks. Industry demand for new alternatives is stimulating, and often financing, research on new feedstocks such as algae and camelina.