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.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 29, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it was seeking nominations for candidates to fill vacancies on the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee (Committee).  The Federal Register notice states that:

The committee members may serve two, three-year terms and committee membership must include: (A) An individual affiliated with the biofuels industry; (B) an individual affiliated with the biobased industrial and commercial products industry; (C) an individual affiliated with an institution of higher education that has expertise in biofuels and biobased products; (D) 2 prominent engineers or scientists from government (non-federal) or academia that have expertise in biofuels and biobased products; (E) an individual affiliated with a commodity trade association; (F) 2 individuals affiliated with environmental or conservation organizations; (G) an individual associated with state government who has expertise in biofuels and biobased products; (H) an individual with expertise in energy and environmental analysis; (I) an individual with expertise in the economics of biofuels and biobased products; (J) an individual with expertise in agricultural economics; (K) an individual with expertise in plant biology and biomass feedstock development; (L) an individual with expertise in agronomy, crop science, or soil science; and (M) at the option of the points of contact, other members.  

Further, nominations this year are needed for the following categories: “(I) An individual with expertise in the economics of biofuels and biobased products; (H) an individual with expertise in energy and environmental analysis; and (J) an individual with expertise in agricultural economics.”  The deadline for nominations is June 30, 2018.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 4, 2018, Bloomberg Environment (subscription required) reported on the planned spinoff of DowDupont Inc’s Corteva Agriscience (Corteva) unit. This split, which is expected to occur by June 1, 2019, was originally announced on February 26, 2018, stating that Corteva will become a separate company quickly followed by Dow and DuPont as they split back into two companies. Corteva will focus on new gene-editing technology, including CRISPR-Cas9 that allows it to use genes from within a plants own DNA to create new traits, including pest resistance. Because Corteva is using existing genes rather than introducing foreign genes into plants, it has so far enjoyed lighter regulatory scrutiny than other genetically engineered crop projects. Corteva also intends to use big data to help farmers calculate specific quantities of seeds and chemicals to maximize production while minimizing costs. The emerging field of digital agriculture is expected to have a significant impact on the industry.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 4, 2018, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) announced the launch of Downy’s first plant-based line of fabric conditioner. In addition to powering the manufacturing process completely with renewable wind powered electricity at a zero-manufacturing waste to landfill facility, the product formula includes 70 percent biobased ingredients and the bottles are made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled content.  The 70 percent claim has been certified through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred program, which provides third-party verification of a product’s biobased content. This program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded by the 2014 Farm Bill to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 17, 2018, a proposed amendment to repeal the Farm Bill’s energy title programs was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 75-340. These title programs provide grants and loan guarantees to rural lenders and businesses, as well as research and development support for renewable energy products. While these programs account for less than one percent of the total amount that the federal government spends on agriculture and nutrition programs, they provide a strong return on investment and provide vital access to capital for rural businesses. Lloyd Ritter, Director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition, stated, “The House of Representatives’ overwhelming vote shows that there is strong, bipartisan support for the energy title programs. These programs support more than 1.5 million U.S. workers who manufacture biobased products and help rural America adopt new technologies for renewable energy economic opportunities. The final farm bill must include an Energy Title, with strong mandatory funding and necessary updates for the vital programs.”

Tags: Farm Bill

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

A coalition will be launched on June 1, 2018, that intends to ensure that Safer Choice will continue to exist as a federal program within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to improve the program so that it operates in the most effective way possible for all stakeholders.  The Coalition will comprise companies throughout the chemical value chain -- chemical manufacturers, consumer product companies, and retailers -- as well as non-governmental organizations (NGO).  Benjamin E. Dunham, a Senior Policy Advisor at Holland & Knight LLP, and former Hill staffer, announced the new coalition at EPA’s May 14, 2018, Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit.  During the summit, industry representatives called for expanding Safer Choice to additional sectors.  EPA staff did not address this suggestion, however, stating instead that they will continue core efforts and urging industry to help with outreach.  Clive Davies, Chief of EPA’s Design for the Environment, stated that there are “activities that we’re going to have to cut back on and activities we’re going to have to maintain at full strength,” noting declining resources.  Davies requested industry input on aspects of Safer Choice that are most important to retain.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 24, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that, as part of the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) support to small businesses, BETO has awarded approximately $2 million, out of $13 million awarded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), to 13 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants.  DOE states that these small businesses are “improving the state of technology for algae crop development and harvesting, driving down the cost of converting wet organic waste streams to biofuels and bioproducts, and increasing the carbon efficiency of biomass conversion.”  Awardees come from across the United States, including Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, California, Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 25, 2018, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) dropped its nearly decade long pursuit to convert a $1-per-gallon tax credit for biofuel blenders to an equivalent credit for producers. NBB originally sought to change the credit to support the domestic biofuel industry, as some blenders who benefited from the credit were also importing foreign biodiesel. Recent import duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department have done a great deal to curb inexpensive biodiesel imports from Indonesia and Argentina (as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post “USTIC Determines Argentinian And Indonesian Biodiesel Dumping Injured U.S. Industry”), thus removing much of the impetus to convert the tax credit program. The $1-per-gallon credit has been retroactively approved for 2017 and NBB continues to push for the credit’s extension in 2018.

Tags: NBB, Tax, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 18, 2018, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), will present “New TSCA and Green Chemistry Innovation” at the 22nd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E), hosted by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute®. GC&E will highlight product innovation using greener chemistries and provide an opportunity for a diverse group of academic, industrial, and government stakeholders to network and learn about the newest ideas in sustainable approaches to chemistry, chemicals, processes, and products. The conference will be held in Portland, Oregon, from June 18 - 20, 2018, and online registration is now open. B&C is a proud sponsor.


 
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