Biodiesel industry calls on President Trump to protect renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes

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The National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) governing board members have sent a letter to President Trump calling on him to protect renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes.

In the letter, the NBB’s governing board members thank the president for his leadership and support of the RFS programme, explain the industry’s capacity to produce biodiesel and highlight some of the contradictions made by the refining industry.

On the contradictions by some in the refining industry, the board members stated: "We also understand that some refiners are continuing to complain loudly about the RFS, about RIN prices and about what they see as the adverse impacts on their businesses. Yet strong Q3 refiner earnings reports seem to directly contradict those concerns.

“For example, PBF Energy, whose executives had earlier made strong statements about the potential negative impact of RIN prices on the company’s earnings, just-reported Q3 revenue of $5.5 billion—a whopping 22 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. The executives’ prior statements were clearly overstated.

“It is also important to know that many of the refinery owners who are begging for Congress to provide relief by changing or killing the RFS were fully aware of this law when they purchased their companies and when the RFS was completely factored into their purchase prices. It is not as if the 10-year-old RFS law constitutes some big surprise. Other companies in this space have invested in blending and distribution infrastructure or employed other compliance strategies to minimize their costs.”  

On the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) July proposal, the board members stated: “What is equally important to understand is that the base numbers contained in EPA’s original, July proposal—4.24 billion gallons for advanced biofuels and 2.1 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel—are themselves so low that, if finalized, they will halt the growth of the biomass-based diesel industry. The 4.24-billion-gallon number is a reduction from the previous year’s 4.28 billion gallons, which sends a starkly negative signal to the industry as a whole.

“Similarly, the 2.1-billion-gallon volume for biomass-based diesel is a static number—the same as the previous year—again sending the wrong signal to an industry poised for robust, sustainable growth. The RFS program is fulfilled by both domestic and imported biodiesel, but the domestic industry alone can generate 2.6 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel right now. In other words, even if you excluded all imports, domestic producers alone are immediately ready to generate substantially more than the 2.1 billion-gallon volume in EPA’s July proposal.”

Diverse group of states

The NBB’s governing board members reiterated their ask of at least 4.75 billion gallons for advanced biofuels for 2018 and at least 2.5 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2019. The governing board includes members from a diverse group of states: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel.  Biodiesel supports roughly 64,000 jobs across the US

The National Biodiesel Board is a US trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.