Biobased and Renewable Products Update
April 12, 2018
Algae Agriculture Act Of 2018 Introduced To The House Of Representatives
Representative Scott Peters (D-CA) recently introduced the Algae Agriculture Act of 2018 (H.R. 5373) to the House of Representatives. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Darin LaHood (R-IL), would provide similar advantages to algae cultivators and harvesters as those that exist for traditional crop farmers under U.S. agricultural policy. These advantages include: updating the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture to include algae, which will provide funding for additional research into ways to utilize algae; making rural electric cooperatives eligible for Carbon Capture and Use (CUU) projects using algae; and providing crop disaster assistance for algae cultivation. “Algae can become a natural pathway to improve soil health on farms, manage water resources, nutrient run-off, and utilize carbon in a way that earns revenue and reduces climate change impacts,” stated Mark Allen, Vice President of Integrated Carbon Solutions at Accelergy Corporation and Vice Chair of Algae Biomass Organization’s (ABO) board of directors. “This bill is an important step toward making algae farming and other algae technologies an important part of American agriculture.”
USTIC Determines Argentinian And Indonesian Biodiesel Dumping Injured U.S. Industry
On April 3, 2018, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) announced that companies from Argentina and Indonesia will face new anti-dumping duties after findings by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) that imports of biodiesel at less than fair value materially injured the U.S. biodiesel industry. Commerce determined that the Argentinian and Indonesian imports were sold in the U.S. at dumping margins of up to 86.41 percent and 276.65 percent, respectively. A full report containing the views of USITC and information developed during the investigations will be available by May 7, 2018, and will be accessible via the USITC website.
EPA Announces Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit 2018
On April 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the third Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit 2018 in a Federal Register notice. The Summit is open to all Safer Choice program partners and stakeholders, and will include informational and breakout sessions, with a focus on dialogue and problem-solving. The event is being held on May 14, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) in Oxon Hill, MD. Registration is available online.
DOE Announces Call For Proposals For BIRD Energy Funding
On April 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a funding opportunity for 2018 through Binational Industrial Research & Development (BIRD) Energy, a joint U.S.-Israel industrial research and development (R&D) program for renewable and energy efficiency technologies. To qualify for BIRD energy funding, a project must include: R&D cooperation between two companies or cooperation between a company and a university/research institution (one from the United States and one from Israel); innovation in any areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, such as solar and wind power, advanced vehicle technologies and alternative fuels, smart grid, storage, water-energy nexus, advanced manufacturing, etc.; and significant commercial potential; the project outcome should lead to commercialization. To apply for funding, submit an executive summary by July 9, 2018, and a final proposal by August 21, 2018.
Open Letter From Iowan Biofuel Producers Urges Protection Of RFS
On April 6, 2018, a coalition of biofuel producers wrote to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) urging them to reach out to President Trump to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. EPA, under the direction of Administrator Scott Pruitt, recently provided a large oil refining company, Andeavor, with a hardship waiver. These waivers are typically given to small refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels per day that would suffer a “disproportionate economic hardship” from the costs of RFS compliance. Since Andeavor’s exemption was reported, Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices have fallen significantly, questions have arisen regarding the legality of such an exemption for a large company, and doubt has been cast onto the future stability of the RFS program.
The producers’ letter states:
Based on the data that has been made public about 2016 exemptions, IRFA estimates that the 25 exemptions for 2017 likely equate to over one billion gallons of demand destruction taken directly from the 15-billion-gallon RFS level for last year.
This represents an unprecedented attack on the RFS and the President’s commitment to defending the 15-billion-gallon level. The small refinery exemption provision of the RFS was clearly intended for small refiners who could prove disproportionate economic harm. Such waivers were, as one would expect, few and far between during the Bush and Obama Administrations. We are now seeing that Pruitt has weaponized the small refinery exemption provision in an effort to effectively render the RFS useless
In addition to concern over Andeavor’s hardship waiver, the biofuel producers also request that the senators push the President to refuse any waiver or price cap on RINs and order Administrator Pruitt to approve year-round E15 sales, increasing the amount of RFS credits generated and driving price of RINs down.
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