NBB urges EPA to implement RFS in timely manner

By | August 08, 2008
In December 2007, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. EISA includes a renewable fuels standard (RFS) that requires the domestic use of at least 500 million gallons of biomass-based diesel in the United States in 2009, increasing to 1 billion gallons by 2012. Biodiesel is one of the fuels available today that qualifies as a biomass-based diesel.

The RFS requirement is landmark legislation that will for the first time ensure that diesel fuel used in the United States will contain a renewable component. The U.S. biodiesel industry is uniquely positioned to meet this demand, and the RFS will help create a stable, growing domestic market for biodiesel.

In written testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, Joe Jobe, NBB's chief executive officer, explained the need for the U.S. EPA to implement the RFS in a timeframe consistent with the statutory requirements established in EISA.

In his testimony, Jobe stated, "For the NBB, the most important issue or concern relating to implementation of RFS is ensuring that the EPA complies with the statutory requirement to mandate the domestic use of 500 million gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2009. While we applaud the EPA for diligently moving forward on implementing the rule, the biodiesel industry is concerned that EPA will not be prepared to issue a final rule prior to Jan. 1, 2009, which may delay implementation of the biomass-based diesel usage requirement.

"The U.S. biodiesel industry is fully capable of meeting the RFS biomass-based diesel requirements," Jobe said. "U.S. biodiesel production in 2008 is expected to exceed the 500 million gallons required by the RFS in 2009. It is vital that EPA move forward with implementing the domestic requirement to use 500 million gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2009 to help meet the nation's larger policy goals relating to energy security, climate change and economic development."

Jobe also noted, "There is precedent for EPA to require the use of renewables absent the issuance of a final RFS rule. When the initial RFS was enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, EPA required the use of a minimal amount of renewable fuels in the marketplace prior to promulgation of a final rule implementing the RFS. Specifically, it required the use of 4 billion gallons in 2006 with no rule or tracking system in place. Also, in 2007, 4.7 billion gallons were required, even though the regulatory rule did not take effect until Sept. 1, 2007. Given the presence of the existing tracking system, the EPA has both the mechanisms and the precedent to move forward with requiring the use of 500 million gallons of biomass-based diesel absent the promulgation of a final RFS rule."

Jobe's statement added, "If the EPA implements RFS as required by statute, it will provide the greatest opportunity for this nation to decrease its dependence on imported oil, increase domestic employment opportunities and decrease greenhouse gas emissions through transportation fuels."
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