Announced Renewable Fuel Standard volumes issue setback to biodiesel
July 5, 2017
ANKENY, Iowa – The Environmental Protection Agency today released its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes, lowering the amount of biofuel that must be used in the U.S. next year, the first ever reduction in volumes under the program. The EPA’s proposal would cut the “advanced biofuels” category from 4.28 billion gallons required to 4.24 billion gallons, an important category that biodiesel helps fill.
Tom Brooks, chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and general manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa, issued the following statement:
“We are disappointed to see biofuels cut overall, and volumes in biodiesel’s main category stay flat under the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes proposal. This would set this important American manufacturing sector back at a time when we stand ready to take a large leap forward.
“I want to be clear that the influx of foreign-produced biodiesel we’ve seen in our market from places like Argentina and Southeast Asia is no indication that the U.S. cannot meet production demand. On the contrary, most biodiesel plants in Iowa and elsewhere are operating below capacity. The imports are pricing us out of our own market due to trade and other federal policies that need correction. This includes a loophole in the federal tax incentive for biodiesel, which allows other countries to claim our incentive, while also claiming their own country’s subsidies. Our industry has worked for years trying to get this adjusted so we can compete fairly in our own country.
“If these volumes stand, the U.S. could restrict one of its most powerful opportunities to support American manufacturing of energy. Iowa, as the nation’s top biodiesel-producing state, has expanded capacity in anticipation of better times ahead – but that is now looking bleaker. Our own plant, Western Dubuque Biodiesel, had hoped to expand significantly, helping energy security and creating more good paying jobs in an area of rural Iowa that needs it. But so much uncertainty makes that less likely for us and other plants – a lost opportunity for Iowa and the nation.
“The RFS is one of the most successful bi-partisan energy policies ever created to facilitate job growth and the diversification of our nation’s energy supply. We hope EPA will reconsider this step backwards before its Nov. 30 deadline to issue a final rule.”
The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.