Biobased Products News and Policy Report – Update from Bergeson & Campbbel, PC
Biobased and Renewable Products Update
February 28, 2019
EPA Requests Public Comments On Its Proposed Partial Consent Decree
On February 22, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice of a proposed partial consent decree in Sierra Club v. Pruitt. This notice is in response to a complaint filed by the Sierra Club in October 2017 to the District of Columbia Court. The complaint alleged that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to assess and report to Congress on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the Energy Independence Security Act’s (EISA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.” The complaint also alleged that Pruitt failed to complete the required anti-backsliding study to determine if RFS program fuels adversely impact air quality. Concerned about Pruitt’s failure to promulgate fuel regulations to prevent potential adverse impacts, the Sierra Club also criticized the former Administrator’s determination that such regulatory measures were even necessary.
In response to these complaints, EPA is now proposing a partial consent decree which would establish a deadline for anti-backsliding studies. EPA is now accepting written comments on the proposed partial consent decree, which must be submitted by March 25, 2019.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, Signed Into Law
On February 15, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a bill originally introduced in early 2017 by Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) titled the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (2019 Appropriations Act). Of interest to stakeholders in the biobased sector is Section 428, which covers policies relating to biomass energy. In this section, responsibilities assigned to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Agriculture, and EPA Administrator are outlined in support of the key role forests play in addressing U.S. energy needs. Among these responsibilities are the establishment of clear and simple policies for forest biomass solutions to the U.S. carbon footprint and the encouragement of private investment throughout the forest biomass supply chain. Government stakeholders should be consistent across all federal departments and agencies and recognize the full benefits of the use of forest biomass for energy, conservation, and responsible forest management.
DOE BETO Announces Collaboration Opportunity
On February 26, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the sponsorship of a new project to harness algae strains for bioenergy. Called Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization and Verification Research (DISCOVR), the project is a multi-laboratory consortium including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratories. DISCOVR aims to identify and test high productivity microalgae strains for outdoor cultivation year-round through a standardized process for evaluating these strains for the production of cost-effective bioenergy. The consortium has partnered with the University of Arizona’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (ACATI), and is inviting the algae industry and academia to contribute to the project. Collaboration would provide an opportunity for interested parties to test their algae strains in DISCOVR’s standardized system and directly compare industry’s top-performing algae strains.
Scientists Discover Method For Transforming Methanol To Ethanol
On February 14, 2019, scientists in China published an article revealing a new methodology developed to safely transform methanol into ethanol. Given methanol’s toxicity, this recently uncovered method allows for a more secure, user-friendly, sustainable technology that can be more broadly applied. The scientific article reports a photo-driven one-step conversion of methanol to ethanol at ambient temperature. A relatively simple process, the methodology used can be broadly applied and enables a green and novel method for generating building blocks in synthetic chemistry.
Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®)
BRAG To Present At The 23rd Annual GC&E Conference, June 11-13, Reston, VA
From June 11-13, 2019, the American Chemical Society (ACS) will be hosting their annual Green Chemistry and Engineering (GC&E) Conference and the International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry in Reston, VA. BRAG will be proudly presenting an abstract titled: “The Role of Regulations in Circular Economy — Challenge of New Chemical Bias.” Under the “Entrepreneurs Driving the Circular Economy — Opportunities and Challenges” GC&E Conference session, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry at Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), will address potential strategies to reduce or eliminate commercialization barriers for biobased products currently under development.
Nebraska Ethanol Board 2019 Emerging Issues Forum, March 7-8, 2019, La Vista, NE
The Nebraska Ethanol Board’s 2019 Emerging Issues Forum focuses on the federal biofuels policy landscape and emerging industry trends. B&C and BRAG are proud sponsors. Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., will be presenting “Legal & Regulatory Considerations for Renewable Chemical Production — Brief Overview from the Experts.”
Green Car Congress, “DSM and Roquette Change Their Relationship for Bio-based Succinic Acid Production”
Bio-based World News, “French Tech Firm Afyren Secures €60m to Develop Bio-based Acids”
Bio-based World News, “New Dutch Programme Launched to Help European Biotech Start-ups”
Packaging Europe, “Biome Bioplastics and Futamura Present Biobased Multilayer Films”
Packaging Europe, “ 100% Renewable Plastic Bottle Significantly Closer to Reality”
The Science Times, “Producing Biofuels from Escherichia Coli”
Biodiesel Magazine, “Brazil’s ECB Group to Build Renewable Diesel Complex in Paraguay”
British Plastics & Rubber, “BioMCN to Produce Renewable Methanol with Green Hydrogen”
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