11 June 2009 16:24 [Source: ICIS news]
TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s long-debated proposal to reduce and freeze the country’s biofuels blending quota is likely to become law after a key parliamentary committee voted in favour of the cut, industry officials said on Thursday.
The measure, which was approved by the government last October, late Wednesday won the approval of a reconciliation committee between the upper and lower houses, Bundesrat and Bundestag.
If it becomes law, it would reduce the quota for 2009 to 5.25%, from 6.25%, retroactively from 1 January, and then freeze it at 6.25% from 2010 through 2014.
Biofuels industry group Verband der Deutschen Biokraftstoffindustrie (VDB) called the committee’s decision a vote against climate protection.
VDB general manger Johannes Lackmann said he was particularly disappointed that environmental groups had come out against biofuels. By doing so, these groups were effectively doing free lobbying work for the oil industry, he said.
Unlike oil, biofuels had to meet high sustainability requirements. Regrettably, even groups who claimed to fight for the environment seemed to have accepted this without question, Lackmann said.
VDB has repeatedly called for sustainability criteria for oil, and not just for biofuels.
MWV said that high biofuels blending, in particular biodiesel, had been cited as the cause of motor engine damage. Even the agricultural sector was not using B100 biodiesel because of engine problems, it added.
Political commentators said the Bundesrat could still raise an objection and sent the measure back to the Bundestag for another, final vote.
However, given that the Bundestag, where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition government has a firm majority, had backed the measure, it was unlikely that the Bundesrat would object, they said.
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