The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable 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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On Thursday, May 29, 2014, Biofuels Digest published an article by Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) Executive Director Kathleen Roberts titled “How to Make Friends and Win EPA Approvals: tips for biobased chemicals.” A copy of the article is available online.

The article highlights the B&C© affiliate BRAG™ and the session it co-presented with B&C during the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, which was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 12-15, 2014. The session titled “Commercializing Renewable Chemicals and Biobased Products: The Importance of Successfully and Efficiently Navigating the Regulatory Process,” was moderated by Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell and included the following speakers: David Widawsky, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Tracy Williamson, U.S Environmental Protection Agency; Frank Pacholec, Stepan Company; and, Nancy Clark, DuPont Industrial Biosciences. The article published in Biofuels Digest includes summaries of the top tips for successfully navigating the regulatory process presented by Drs. Tracy Williamson and David Widawsky.
 


 
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On May 19, 2014, two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) notices were published in the Federal Register. The first is a notice of an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee (Committee). The Committee advises DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) and priority technical biomass research and development (R&D) needs, and makes recommendations to the Biomass Research and Development Board. The meeting is scheduled to take place on June 5, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., and June 6, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Omni Shoreham, 2500 Calvert Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008. A copy of the notice is available online.


To attend the meeting and/or to make oral statements regarding any of the items on the agenda below, you must contact Elliott Levine at 202-586-1476 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and Roy Tiley at 410-997-7778 ext. 220 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at least five business days prior to the meeting.


The purpose of the meeting is to provide advice and guidance that promotes R&D leading to the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. The agenda is expected to include the following:

* Update on USDA Biomass R&D Activities;

* Update on DOE Biomass R&D Activities;

* Update on the BRDI;

* Update on the DOE Loan Program Solicitations;

* Update on the BioEconomy Initiative;

* Overview of the BioEconomy Initiative Analysis;

* Feedstocks panel on fuels from corn stover; and

* An overview and application of the USDA Feedstock Readiness Level Tool.


The second notice is a solicitation for nominations for candidates to fill vacancies on the Committee. Nominations must be submitted by June 9, 2014. A detailed description of the Committee and the nomination process is provided in the notice, which is available online.


By law, the Committee must include, among others, an individual affiliated with the biofuels industry and an individual affiliated with the biobased industrial and commercial products industry. According to the notice, while nominations will be accepted for other categories, nominations this year are needed for the following categories in order to address the Committee's needs: (E) an individual affiliated with a commodity trade association; (F) individuals affiliated with environmental or conservation organizations; (J) an individual with expertise in agricultural economics; (K) an individual with expertise in plant biology and biomass feedstock development; and (M) at the option of the points of contact, other members.
 


 
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On May 15, 2014, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a procedural measure that would have allowed for that body to consider and vote on S. 2260, the "Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act," the package of tax extenders approved by the Senate Finance Committee in April. The EXPIRE Act includes extensions through December 31, 2015 (and retroactive to January 1, 2014), of the following key biofuels incentives that have expired: the Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit; the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit; the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property; the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit; and the Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit. A copy of the EXPIRE Act is available online. A summary of the bill is also available online.


The EXPIRE Act has broad bipartisan support among Senators. The vote on cloture to end debate on the bill and pave the way for Senate consideration failed last week because the Senate Republican and Democratic leadership had a fundamental disagreement over whether and which amendments could be offered to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) preserved his right to bring the bill up again for consideration. Senator Reid could do so soon if the leaders are able to agree on rules for offering amendments to the bill. The bill is widely expected to be considered later this year, however, during a lame duck session following the November elections. It is important that the Senate passes tax extender legislation that includes energy incentives in order to help ensure they are included in the final bill. The House of Representatives is expected to consider a smaller package of tax extenders that will likely not include the retroactive biofuels incentives so important to the industry.
 


 
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On May 20, 2014, the House Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee) and the Senate Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee) marked up and passed their separate versions of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 spending bill for USDA. A copy of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee's draft bill is available online. A copy of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee's "Mark-up Bill Summary" for its version of the FY 2015 USDA spending bill is available online.


The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee's bill is controversial and includes steep cuts to Farm Bill Energy Title programs recently expanded and provided mandatory funding by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), including to the Biomass Crop Assistance Program and Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program. Mandatory funding is not usually subject to cuts through the annual appropriations process. The biofuels and renewable chemicals industries are working to ensure mandatory funding for these programs is included in the final FY 2015 USDA spending bill.


The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) reported on the significance of the expanded Energy Title programs and mandatory funding for them provided under the 2014 Farm Bill. A copy of that report is available online.
 


 
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On May 21, 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) signed into law Senate Bill 2344, legislation to help promote the biofuels industry in the State. A copy of the legislation is available online. It extends the biodiesel production tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of 2014, enhances Iowa's E-15 retailer tax credit, and adds biobutanol as a renewable fuel option. This law reinforces Iowa's ongoing support for the biofuels industry.


 
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On May 19, 2014, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that it has awarded Segetis, Inc., a green chemistry company based in the State, a $325,000 NextGen Energy Grant. The grant will be used for equipment, capital construction, and materials for operation of a pilot plant for process development required to commercialize their biobased non-phthalate plasticizer. A copy of the MDA press release on the grant awards is available online.


 
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On May 21, 2014, Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG), a leading U.S. biodiesel producer, and Tyson Foods, Inc. (Tyson) announced that they have agreed to REG's acquisition of Tyson's 50 percent ownership position in Dynamic Fuels, LLC (Dynamic Fuels). Contingent upon the closing of REG's December 2013 announced agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Syntroleum Corporation (Syntroleum), the acquisition announced on May 21, 2014, would give REG full ownership of Dynamic Fuels and its 75 million gallon per year nameplate capacity renewable diesel biorefinery in Geismar, Louisiana. Tyson and Syntroleum formed Dynamic Fuels in 2007 as a 50/50 joint venture. A copy of REG's press release on the announcement is available online.


 
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Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) advocacy is continuing at a steady pace in anticipation of the expected imminent release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2014 final RFS rule. Some biofuels advocates believe that they are making an impact with their stepped-up advocacy, as they believe the Administration will adjust the total renewable and advanced biofuel targets upwards from its proposed reductions to those categories of renewable fuels. The final rule is expected to be issued in June 2014.


On May 8, 2014, nine members of the pro-biofuels Fuels America coalition sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to reconsider EPA's proposed reductions to the total renewable and advanced biofuels targets in the 2014 RFS rule. The Fuels America coalition does not believe that it is necessary to make any legislative changes to the RFS. A copy of the letter is Tags: RFS


 
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On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Inspector General (IG), Gregory H. Friedman, issued an audit report on "Implementation of Recommendations from the January 2012 Independent Consultant's Review of the Department of Energy Loan and Loan Guarantee Portfolio." A copy of the report is available online.


In the fall of 2011, following the high-profile bankruptcies of alternative energy companies that had received DOE loan guarantees, including Solyndra, Inc. (Solyndra) and Beacon Power, LLC, the White House requested an independent review of the DOE loan guarantee program for alternative energy. In January 2012, that Independent Consultant issued his report, including 12 recommendations for improving the administration of the DOE loan guarantee program. The current IG report assesses whether the DOE implemented those recommendations.


The IG found that DOE had either made constructive changes pursuant to the recommendations, or had sufficient reasons explaining why it had not yet implemented them. In addition, the IG makes several suggestions to improve the program further.


This report is positive for the DOE loan guarantee program for alternative energy, as it is important that DOE appears responsive to the Independent Consultant's recommendations for improving its administration. The loan guarantees are among the few potential federal sources of funding for the development of biofuels. The program faced -- and is still recovering from -- significant public relations challenges following the announcement of Solyndra's bankruptcy. It provided, and continues to provide, program opponents with arguments against providing continued federal support for DOE loans and loan guarantees for alternative energy.
 

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On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Inspector General (IG), Gregory H. Friedman, issued an audit report on "Implementation of Recommendations from the January 2012 Independent Consultant's Review of the Department of Energy Loan and Loan Guarantee Portfolio." A copy of the report is available online.


In the fall of 2011, following the high-profile bankruptcies of alternative energy companies that had received DOE loan guarantees, including Solyndra, Inc. (Solyndra) and Beacon Power, LLC, the White House requested an independent review of the DOE loan guarantee program for alternative energy. In January 2012, that Independent Consultant issued his report, including 12 recommendations for improving the administration of the DOE loan guarantee program. The current IG report assesses whether the DOE implemented those recommendations.


The IG found that DOE had either made constructive changes pursuant to the recommendations, or had sufficient reasons explaining why it had not yet implemented them. In addition, the IG makes several suggestions to improve the program further.


This report is positive for the DOE loan guarantee program for alternative energy, as it is important that DOE appears responsive to the Independent Consultant's recommendations for improving its administration. The loan guarantees are among the few potential federal sources of funding for the development of biofuels. The program faced -- and is still recovering from -- significant public relations challenges following the announcement of Solyndra's bankruptcy. It provided, and continues to provide, program opponents with arguments against providing continued federal support for DOE loans and loan guarantees for alternative energy.
 

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Last week, Purdue University (Purdue) President Mitch Daniels, and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), agreeing to work together on the development of alternative energy sources, including biofuels, for use by the U.S. Navy. As part of the agreement, Purdue has committed to establishing the Purdue Military Research Initiative. This initiative will cover the cost of graduate education for up to ten active duty members of the military pursuing studies in alternative energy, alternative fuels or energy efficient technologies.


This announcement furthers efforts made by the U.S. Navy in recent years to expand its use of alternative energy sources. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) entered into and has worked to implement an MOU with the DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide a collective $510 million toward the commercial development and availability of drop-in biofuels for military and commercial use. In addition, the U.S. Navy has developed goals to deploy a "Great Green Fleet" strike group of ships and aircraft running on alternative fuel blends by 2016 and to meet 50 percent of its energy consumption through the use of alternative sources by 2020.
 

 


 
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The 4th Annual Safer Consumer Products Summit was held May 6-8, 2014, in Santa Clara, California, and with the first draft Priority Products (PP) having been announced by California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in March 2014, the regulators, manufacturers, brand owners, and retailers gathered for the Summit were able to engage in substantive and practical discussion and learn from case studies on California's implementation of the Safer Consumer Products Regulations (SCPR), the most expansive Green Chemistry law in the world. B&C was the Platinum sponsor of the Summit.


Summit Chair Lynn L. Bergeson introduced Meredith Williams, Ph.D., DTSC Deputy Director, who gave the Keynote Address. Dr. Williams discussed DTSC's decision-making process with regard to its three selections in its draft initial PP list (paint and varnish strippers, and surface cleaners containing methylene chloride; spray polyurethane foam systems containing unreacted diisocyanates; and children's foam-padded sleeping products containing tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP)) and other DTSC efforts, including its development of a work plan identifying potential future PPs and guidance for companies to prepare "Alternatives Analysis" assessments. DTSC also held on May 7, 2014, the first of three workshops related to its draft initial PPs. The other two workshops are scheduled for May 28, 2014, and June 4, 2014. B&C's memorandum on the draft PP list is available online.


Lisa R. Burchi, Of Counsel with B&C, moderated a panel discussion focused on the immediate challenges of complying with SCPR, including panelists from the consulting and legal community, as well as Chin Kuay, Senior Manager, Regulatory Compliance, Office Depot, and Mary-Ann Warmerdam, Regulatory Affairs Leader, Global Stewardship, The Clorox Company. The panel discussed immediate steps manufacturers and retailers are taking, how companies can prepare their long-lead-time products without knowing if or when they might be affected by a PP listing, and what steps companies should consider if there is confidential information they need to protect.


The afternoon session Keynote Address was made by Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), who provided an overview of the federal chemicals management program, and the many critically important initiatives that OCSPP is spearheading to give expression to the Obama Administration's commitment to improving chemical safety.


For copies of Dr. Williams', Mr. Jones', and other presentations made at the Summit please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
 


 
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On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on "Alternative Jet Fuels: Federal Activities Support Development and Usage, but Long-Term Commercial Viability Hinges on Market Factors." GAO found that [a]chieving price competitiveness for alternative jet fuels is the overarching challenge to developing a viable market." To this end, according to stakeholders consulted for the report, both federal activities -- including policy stability -- and market factors contribute to the ability of alternative jet fuels to be priced competitively with traditional jet fuels. A copy of the report is available online.


 
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On May 13, 2014, INVISTA and LanzaTech announced that they signed a research and development agreement to focus on the development of gas-fermentation process technology for the production of industrial chemicals from carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas (CO2 and H2) feedstocks. Warren Primeaux, President of INVISTA intermediates, explained that the agreement will "provide INVISTA increased access to LanzaTech's world-class gas-fermentation process technology and help accelerate the commercialization of a number of exciting bio-derived processes currently under development at INVISTA's bioscience laboratory in Wilton, United Kingdom." A copy of INVISTA's press release is available online.

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On May 12, 2014, the Silent Spring Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health released a study finding that 17 groups of chemicals found in everyday products could be linked to breast cancer. The groups of chemicals include those found in vehicle exhaust, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, including those commonly used to upholster furniture, paint removers, and disinfection byproducts found in drinking water. A copy of the report is available online.

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