The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) today and the biomass-based diesel category was proposed for 1.28 billion gallons, less than what the industry is currently able to produce. 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.
In response, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) warned that the EPA’s 2014 proposal 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.”
Steckel continued, “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. 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.”
Amanda Cunningham of Veros Energy, a biodiesel producer in Moundville, Alabama, 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.” Continue reading