Biobased Products News and Policy Report – Update from Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Biobased and Renewable Products Update

January 10, 2019


DOE Extends Deadline For RFI On Algae, Biomass, And Waste Feedstock

On January 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the extension of the deadline for algae, biomass, and waste feedstock research request for information (RFI).  EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is requesting information on research opportunities associated with alternative feedstocks that can be used in the production of biopower, bioproducts, and biofuel.  Particularly of interest to DOE are the following topic areas:  Outdoor Algae Research; Biomass Characteristics and Feedstock Performance; and Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Waste.  Seeking input from academics, industry experts, national laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders, the RFI is designed to support early-stage research and development on technologies that can contribute to the maximization of U.S. biomass resources.  Responses to the RFI must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 18, 2019.

Think-Tank Calls For RFS Repeal

On January 8, 2019, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization supporting free-market, published the Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 116th Congress report for the Congress’ consideration.  The report identifies strategies for Congress to take in eliminating federal regulations that interfere in the lives of consumers, making it more difficult to access the best services and products available to Americans.  The proposed congressional agenda put forth by CEI includes nine policy areas that they believe should be the focus of reform.  Some of these areas include regulatory reform and agency oversight, trade, banking and finance, private and public lands, and energy and environment, among others.

In the report’s “Energy and Environment” chapter, CEI recommends that Congress freeze the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to blend biofuel into petroleum-based fuel.  CEI claims that the RFS has unintended consequences such as bidding up the price of corn, soy, and other crops, as well as driving motorists to spend more on fuel, rather than benefiting the environment.  The recommendation is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sunset the RFS Program for 2022 to assure that competition and consumer preference are the ultimate drivers leading a certain type of fuel to succeed or fail in the marketplace.  To access the full report, click here.

Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®)

BRAG:  Call For Candidate Chemicals For Equivalency Determinations

Is your company engaged in Class 2 chemistries that are similar to existing Class 2 chemicals but are derived from an innovative bio-source?  We are looking for pioneering companies working on new biobased Class 2 chemicals to assist in advancing an important project with EPA.

ISSUE:  While EPA’s sustainability goals would seemingly include adoption of improved biobased technologies, EPA’s policies under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) mean that many novel, sustainable technologies are considered “new chemicals” — requiring EPA to conduct new product assessments.  If these new chemicals are converted to other substances by downstream customers, those substances are likely also new — requiring additional new chemical submissions and assessments.  Each new chemical submission and assessment represents a cost and a commercial delay, and are barriers to adoption of what may be a promising sustainable technology.  These reviews can and do result in EPA applying risk management conditions on the production and distribution in commerce of the novel, renewable chemicals — restrictions that may not apply to older chemistries even though they may be functionally identical in performance, hazard, and risk.  Ironically, the new chemical may offer a more benign environmental footprint but nonetheless be subject to stricter controls.

POTENTIAL SOLUTION:  In an effort to address these issues, BRAG has submitted to EPA, in partnership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a BRAG member, a White Paper proposing a TSCA Inventory representation and equivalency determinations for renewable and sustainable bio-based chemicals.  EPA’s initial response to the White Paper has been positive and staff have indicated a willingness to conduct equivalency determinations if submitted.

REQUEST:  BRAG is now seeking companies interested in participating in a pilot project to prepare and submit such requests.  Specifically, we are looking for companies that manufacture or plan to manufacture a Class 2 chemical substance that is functionally equivalent to another Class 2 chemical but, due to existing naming conventions, the two chemicals are not listed as equivalent.  If your company fits this description and you wish to support an effort to alleviate commercial burden for yourself and others in the future, please consider working with BRAG on this important project so we can present impactful equivalency cases to EPA.

BRAG and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) are committed to this project.  As such, we will prepare the necessary submission paperwork and equivalency arguments, in conjunction with the nominating company, for those case studies that we believe are good candidates for this project.

Please contact Ligia Duarte Botelho if your company is interested in submitting a nomination.

B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM)

“Biobased Products:  Regulatory Challenges and Proposed Solutions” Podcast:  January 24, 2018

BCCM is pleased to announce that B&C’s podcast “All Things Chemical™” will release an episode on January 24, 2019, on biobased equivalency determination.  The “Biobased Products:  Regulatory Challenges and Proposed Solutions” podcast will provide an overview of the term “biobased” and what it means, the current nomenclature issue surrounding the biobased industry, and how BCCM’s BRAG is addressing the issue through equivalency determination.  Stay tuned for the podcast and subscribe now on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher!  In the meantime, check out BRAG’s website for news on nomenclature issues.


B&C Releases 2019 Forecast On U.S. Federal And International Chemical Regulatory Policy

On January 8, 2019, B&C and its consulting affiliate The Acta Group (Acta®) published the 2019 Forecast.  The document details the legal, scientific, and regulatory trends in U.S. and global chemical law, providing informed judgment as to the shape of key developments we are likely to see in 2019.  Sections on biobased products and biotechnology are included in the document.  The full document can be accessed here.

Other News

Chemical & Engineering News, “US Requires Labeling of GMO Foods as ‘Bioengineered’
TradeArabia, “RAK Firm to Use Fuel From Waste in Cement Production
Cision PR Newswire, “Green Catalysts with Earth-abundant Metals Accelerate Production of Bio-based Plastic
Irish Farmers Journal, “Biofuels Blended in Petrol and Diesel to Increase to 10% from 2019
The Virginian-Pilot, “Global Bioenergies Welcomes France’s Decision to Increase Biofuel Mandates
Biofuels Digest, “Japan Airlines to Use Aviation Biofuel on Select Flights from San Francisco to Tokyo
Channel News Asia, “India’s Top Court Backs Monsanto on GM Cotton Payments
DownToEarth, “Improved Catalyst Can Speed Up Conversion of Industrial Biomass Into Biofuel
The Daily Caller, “Here Are Trump’s Largest ‘Energy Dominance’ Actions of 2018
Biomass Magazine, “Goal for 2019: Get Electricity Included in RFS
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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