This too shall pass

Every year, instead of being free to celebrate our strengths and successes without catastrophe looming, there's another battle to wage, another hill to climb, another enemy to fight. And it's this tragic nature of the industry that is so intriguing.
By Ron Kotrba | February 07, 2012

I think deep down one thing that intrigues me the most about this industry is its tragic nature. Perhaps that’s the fate of an industry whose figurehead’s name is Jobe (The book of Job, and why the righteous suffer).

Year after year, powerful forces work against these fine people in ways no other industry could endure. But yet, despite tragedy after obstacle after setback, time and time again, biodiesel producers and stakeholders persevere by developing new markets, new technologies, new recruits. It makes me proud to be a part of it, however small my role is.

The tragedies de jour are RIN integrity and persuading EPA to see its initial proposal through in expanding RFS2's biomass-based diesel carve-out to 1.28 billion gallons next year.

As the industry’s history and persevering nature suggests, this too will pass, but not without work, commitment and patience. Fortunately the men and women of biodiesel possess the attributes needed to see this through, and survive another day until the next tragedy comes its way.

Despite entering 2012 without a tax credit, not a single person, not a single producer, at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo this year in Orlando has told me that this is a priority to them. But nearly everyone I’ve talked to has RINs on their minds.

The recent fraud cases and subsequent notices of violation to certain obligated parties have made refiners hesitant to buy RINs, and as a result, small and medium-sized producers are suffering the consequences.

While large plants produce much of the biodiesel volume in this industry, the small plants produce much of its character, its essence.

It was great to see so many of my friends in the industry here this week in Florida.