Biodiesel sector disappointed by EPA’s volume requirements for 2014

15 November 2013 21:39 Source:ICIS News

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Biodiesel producers expressed disappointment on Friday after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with the biomass-based diesel category pegged for 1.28bn gal in 2014.

"We are disappointed by the proposed numbers that are not consistent with the goals of the EPA, the White House, nor Congress when it created [the RFS],” said Daniel Oh CEO of Renewable Energy Group (REG).

The volume requirements are less than what the industry is currently able to produce, as biodiesel production is on track to set a production record exceeding 1.7bn gallons this year.

The fate of the RFS standard is considered to be critical by most biodiesel producers.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) warned that the EPA’s 2014 proposal would cause plant closures and layoffs.

“The growth in domestic biodiesel production dovetails exactly with President [Barack] 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 [on Friday] 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 added.

NBB said the draft proposal is particularly problematic because excess biodiesel production in 2013 can be carried over for compliance into 2014, which could mean even lower mandated volumes next year.

Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from renewable resources. The most commonly used feedstocks are rapeseed, soy and palm oil.

By Leela Landress