The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) was active last summer in urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to increase biomass-based diesel and advanced volumes and accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions in the annual Renewable Fuel Standards. We thanked the 39 senators who sent a letter to the EPA in support of these goals. A special shout-out goes to Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for leading the letter along with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) for signing on.
Currently, the EPA proposes to set the 2020 biomass-based diesel volume at 2.43 billion gallons. In response the senators wrote, “While these proposed increases are encouraging, these volumes continue to underestimate the existing potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states. We believe the biodiesel industry can do more and that EPA should demonstrate more confidence in the RFS program’s ability to drive growth. It is critical that EPA appropriately account for any small refiner economic hardship exemptions that it reasonably expects to grant during the 2019 compliance year in the final rule, or EPA will not be able to fulfill its duty to ensure RVOs are met.”
Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the NBB, stated, “Moreover, EPA must fully and accurately account for small refiner hardship exemptions under the RFS. NBB estimates that the exemptions granted by EPA for 2016 and 2017 reduced demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel by about 300 million gallons. That lost demand is equal to or greater than the annual production of some of the nation’s top biodiesel producing states, including Washington, Missouri, North Dakota and Iowa. The volumes that EPA sets are meaningless if the agency does not ensure they are met at the end of the year.”
We also assisted in the recent launch of the NBB’s annual advertising campaign. Messages about biodiesel’s benefits hit airwaves to try to influence key decision makers. This educational campaign reaches an audience unfamiliar with agriculture and biodiesel as it includes advertising in the mid-Atlantic and Washington, D.C., areas. This campaign was supported in part by the U.S. Canola Association. The next wave of NBB advertising campaign began in September 2018, continuing to promote the biodiesel industry and its mission.
On top of all of this, the NBB has a conference coming up. The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is the place to see and be seen in the world of biodiesel. We encourage you to claim your spot at the 2019 conference in San Diego—where all the key players will come together for a week of learning, networking and discovery.
Ryan Pederson is a board member of the National Biodiesel Board and the U.S. Canola Association, based in Rolette, North Dakota.