On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) granted a petition from the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy
to add "biodiesel" as a chemical category for partial reporting
exemption at 40 C.F.R. Section 711.6(b)(2)(iv) under the Chemical Data
Reporting (CDR) rule and will be proceeding with a direct
final rule to be published later in January. The approved biodiesel
category on the partial reporting exemption list will include the following chemicals:
- Fatty acids, C14-18 and
Cl6-18-unsatd., Me esters (Chemical Abstract Services Registry Number
- Fatty acids, Cl6-18 and
C-18-unsatd., Me esters (CASRN 67762-38-3);
- Fatty acids, canola oil, Me
esters (CASRN 129828-16-6);
- Fatty acids, com oil, Me esters
- Fatty acids, tallow, Me esters
(CASRN 61788-61-2); and
- Soybean oil, Me ester (CASRN
As a result of EPA's decision to grant the petition, manufacturers
and importers of these chemicals will not have to compile and report the
processing and use information under Part III of the CDR Form U for the
upcoming 2016 CDR reporting cycle, or future CDR reporting cycles. By EPA's
estimate, this equates to a savings of more than 80 hours and $5,500 per
report. More importantly, this action results in equitable regulatory reporting
burdens of chemical substances of comparable release and exposure potential,
and avoids EPA providing regulatory relief to one subset of diesel products
BRAG's Executive Director Kathleen M. Roberts stated: "I am
pleased that BRAG's quick and decisive actions in identifying the diminished
CDR reporting obligations that the rules allow proved successful. Knowing the
TSCA regulatory landscape was key to our success. We will continue to identify
other opportunities to leverage favorable regulatory outcomes that our clear
understanding of the rules makes possible."
As with all the chemicals currently afforded partial exemption
status, the biodiesel chemicals would no longer be eligible for the partial
reporting exemption if they were to become the subject of a Section 4, 5(a)(2),
5(b)(4), or 6 rule (proposed or final), an enforceable consent agreement, a
Section 5(e) order, or relief granted under a civil action under Section 5 or
For more information or to join BRAG, contact Kathleen M. Roberts
(443) 964-4653. BRAG is managed by B&C®
Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM).
On December 12, 2014, the Senate passed a House amendment to the Carl Levin
and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA FY15). The final version of the NDAA FY15
places restrictions on how the military is able to acquire biofuels by
prohibiting funding from being used for bulk purchase of drop-in biofuels where
the fully burdened cost of the biofuels is not cost competitive with the fully
burdened cost of available traditional fuels. The bill defines a fully burdened
cost as "the commodity price of the fuel plus the total cost of all
personnel and assets required to move and, when necessary, protect the fuel
from the point at which the fuel is received from the commercial supplier to
the point of use."
In addition, the NDAA FY15 requires the Secretary of Defense, or
the Secretary of the relevant military department, to submit a business case
analysis to the Congressional defense committees at least 30 days before
entering contracts for the "planning, design, refurbishment, or
construction of a biofuels refinery, or of any other facility or infrastructure
used to refine biofuels." The Congressional Budget Office
has completed a review of the effect that the bill would have on direct
spending and revenue and has determined that NDAA FY15 would result in a
decrease in direct spending by $1.9 billion from 2015 to 2024.
On December 16, 2014, the Senate followed the House of
Representatives and passed tax extender legislation that is expected to be
signed by the President. The final package that passed would retroactively
extend incentives that expired on December 31, 2013, through the end of 2014.
It does not extend the incentives through the end of 2015, as Senate Finance
Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and other leaders would have liked.
The final tax extender package includes important incentives for
the biofuels industry, including the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, as
well as the biofuel production tax credit for cellulosic and algae-based
biofuels and the special allowance for second generation biofuel plant
Kingdom (UK) Department for Transport (DfT) announced the launch of a £25
million competition for funding to build advanced biofuel plants.
The funding will eventually lead to the construction of up to three
demonstration level advanced biofuel plants in the UK. In order to qualify for
funding, the biofuels being produced need to have at least 60 percent
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels and be made
from waste materials. Potential bidders have until February 13, 2015, to
provide a detailed expression of interest, with full proposals due in June 2015. The
demonstration plants that are constructed as a result of this competition are
expected to produce one million liters or more of biofuel per year and be
operational by December
information for the Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition is available
On December 16, 2014, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released
a report on "Options
for Reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard." A copy of BPC's
press release on the report, with links to the report and its summary, is also
available online. BPC explains that the report results from three
meetings of diverse stakeholders throughout 2014. It outlines an inventory of
40 potential regulatory or legislative reforms to the federal Renewable Fuel
Standard (RFS). BPC in the report concludes that major improvements can occur
through reform, but not repeal, of the RFS.
On December 1, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.
5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, more commonly
referred to as the tax extender bill. This bill extends through 2014 the
dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, as well as the biofuel production tax
credit for cellulosic and algae-based biofuels and the special allowance for
second generation biofuel plant property. While the Chair of the Senate
Committee on Finance is reportedly still working to pass a tax extender bill
that would extend these expiring incentives beyond 2014, especially given the
fact that the Senate is expected to adjourn for the year today, chances are
that the Senate will pass tax extender legislation similar to the House-passed
version. If that happens and the President enacts it, these tax credits will be
retroactively effective for the entire year of 2014 as the prior tax credits
had expired on January 1, 2014. There continues to be uncertainty about the
future of the tax credits, as this bill will expire on January 1, 2015, with no
guarantee of renewal.
Geneco, "UK's first
ever bus to run on human and food waste launched"
Myriant and Sojitz Jointly Develop Bio-succinic Acid Based Plasticizers"
Technical Institute of Finland,
developing an environmentally friendly alternative for polystyrene"
to close biofuel plant in Jennings"
there be a run on bio-based packaging materials soon?"
Renewables Begins Construction of Commercial Plant"
Cabinet Turnover, USDA's Vilsack Is Longest-Serving Secretary In 45 Years"
Energy Stocks, "Biodiesel
Christmas Caroling: FFA La La"
On December 2, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced
over $9 million in grants to support advanced biofuel production
and the bioeconomy. More than $5 million in grants awarded to 220
producers nationwide are provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel
Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Other awards were
from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Biodiesel
Fuel Education Program, the Sun Grant Program, and the Critical Agricultural
Materials Program. Recipients of these awards include the National Biodiesel
Board, South Dakota State University, and Iowa Sate University.
On November 21, 2014, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a final Renewable Fuel
Standard (RFS) for 2014 will not be issued by the end of the year.
The compliance deadline for the 2013 RFS will be renewed until the new rule is
issued, sometime in 2015. The 2014 RFS was due to be finalized by November 30,
2013. When the rule is released in 2015, it will set standards through 2016
with the intention of making up for long delays in the RFS rulemaking.
Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®)
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued a statement on EPA's decision,
noting that inaction on the RFS in 2014 results in continued uncertainty for
advanced biofuel development. Numerous articles on the EPA announcement were
posted, including one
in The New York Times.
On December 1, 2014, the American Fuel
& Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) filed a notice of intent to sue
EPA for the failure to issue the 2015 RFS by November 30, 2014. In addition,
the American Petroleum Institute (API) reportedly communicated to EPA that it
intends to evaluate its legal options going forward.
Nominations for the 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Awards are now being accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nominations for the awards are due December 31, 2014, and the final awardees are expected to be announced in July 2015. The Awards cover six categories: academic; small business; greener synthetic pathways; greener reaction conditions; designing greener chemicals; and climate change. EPA allows companies to re-submit past nomination packets as long as the technology milestone was within the last five years. EPA reassures submitters that it is definitely worth considering another bite at the apple and past winners have, in fact, been based on re-submissions. The Nomination Package for the 2015 Awards is available on the EPA website.