Democrats Express Concern Over RFS Waivers
On October 15, 2018, U.S. Representatives Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Danny Davis (D-IL) submitted a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing concern over President Trump’s issuance of waivers to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Particularly worried about EPA’s recent actions to waive RFS blending requirements, the letter, signed by 19 members of Congress, urges EPA “to halt the issuance of additional RFS waivers and to reallocate waived gallons in the 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations.” According to the letter, the issuance of these waivers has led to higher gas prices and higher emission levels, particularly, in communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution. Given the largely negative impacts of these waivers, the letter also highlights the benefits and importance of biofuels in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and, consequently, improving public health outcomes. “The Trump administration’s decision to abandon RFS goals has already set back our progress by 5 years,” Representative Gallego expanded in a press release.
Presidential Determination: Alane Fuel Cells
On October 11, 2018, President Trump issued a Presidential Determination that the development and purchase of equipment and materials needed for alane fuel cells are essential to the national defense. Alane fuel cells are, essentially, comprised of aluminum hydride and are possible alternatives to hydrogen fuel cells. According to manufacturers, the only byproducts are water and aluminum, the latter of which can be recycled.
Issuing the determination under Section 303 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, the President stated that “United States industry cannot reasonably be expected to provide the capability for the production of alane fuel cells adequately and in a timely manner. Further, purchases, purchase commitments, or other action pursuant to section 303 of the Act are the most cost effective, expedient, and practical alternative method for meeting the need for this critical capability.”
In general, Section 303 authorities can be used by the President to provide incentives for domestic private industry to produce and supply critical goods that are necessary for the national defense. It vests the President with an array of authorities to create, maintain, protect, expand, or restore domestic industrial base capabilities essential to the national defense. These authorities include purchasing or making purchase commitments of industrial resources or critical technology items; making subsidized payments for domestically produced materials; and installing and purchasing equipment for industrial facilities to expand their productive capacity.
European Commission Announces New Bioeconomy Strategy
On October 11, 2018, the European Commission (EC) released a statement announcing its new action plan for a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe. The new action plan, originally announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent, aims to “improve and scale up the sustainable use of renewable sources to address global and local challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.” In his remarks, EC Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, emphasized the need for systemic changes as key drivers of change for the bioeconomy sector. Renewable and sustainable solutions depend on collaborative efforts by governments and industry stakeholders. Based on this premise, EC’s new strategy focuses on three key objectives that include 14 measures to be taken as early as 2019. The three objectives are to:
These long- and short-term objectives focus on modernizing the European biobased economy and call for systemic changes that will reduce the large underused biomass and waste potential. The action plan will be further discussed and outlined during a conference with stakeholders, hosted by the EC on October 22, 2018, in Brussels.
EU Sets New Standards For Fuel Marking
On October 12, 2018, the EC announced new requirements for labeling fuel. As of the aforementioned date, European Union (EU) Member States must use set fuel labels on newly produced vehicles, at vehicle dealerships, and at gas stations that dispense hydrogen, diesel, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, petrol, and liquefied natural gas. Given the growing variety of fuels on the market, the EC’s new requirements address the greater need for transparency of information to consumers. The labels are to be put on the nozzles of gas filling pumps, on the pumps themselves, and in the vicinity of fuel filler caps on new cars, motorcycles, buses, and coaches, among other places.
ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
On October 15, 2018, the American Chemical Society (ACS) held the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. This year, five awards were given to academics, scientists, and business innovators across the biobased industry sector. Promoting environmental and economic benefits of developments in green chemistry, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute hosts this event on an annual basis. Of particular interest in this year’s ceremony was the “Greener Reaction Conditions Award” presented to Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, L.L.C. for their research: A Practical Way to Mass Production of Chitin: The Only Facility in the U.S. to Use Ionic Liquid-Based Isolation Process. Awarded for its commercialization of a safe, environmentally friendly, low energy demand, and overall cost efficient process to produce chitin from seafood waste, Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, L.L.C., holds the only facility in the U.S. that uses an ionic liquid-based isolation process. The zero-discharge process is a key development in the biobased industry due to the fact that all components of the waste crustacean biomass are monetized, recycled, and reused.
ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners also included:
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. congratulates all ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners for their invaluable contributions to a more sustainable and renewable future.
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The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.
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