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.

Sustainable Oils Inc. issued a press release announcing the issuance of a feedstock-only pathway for the production of Camelina-based fuels under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). According to the release, this action by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) results in Camelina being the only scalable, non-food based crop that meets both California and federal fuel standards requirements.


 

On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a petition from the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) 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 (CASRN) 67762-26-9);
     
  • 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 (CASRN 515152-40-6);
     
  • Fatty acids, tallow, Me esters (CASRN 61788-61-2); and
     
  • Soybean oil, Me ester (CASRN 67784-80-9).

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 over another.

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 7.

For more information or to join BRAG, contact Kathleen M. Roberts at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (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 property.

 

 

The United 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 2018. Application information for the Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition is available online.

 

 

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.

 
Tags: 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.

 

 

 

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.

 
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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®) member, the 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.

   
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