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 June 4, 2018, several biofuel and agricultural groups, including the Renewable Fuels Association, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), and the National Biodiesel Board, among others, petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations.  The ACE announcement states that the petition asks EPA to “change its regulations to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from [RFS] obligations recently granted by EPA.”  The petition states that Section 211(o)(2)(a)(i) of the Clean Air Act “requires EPA to ensure that the annual required volumes of renewable fuel are introduced into the nation’s transportation fuel supply,” and that EPA’s “suddenly reversing its prior policy and granting retroactive exemptions to so many small refineries without adjusting its Annual Standard Equations to account for the resulting lost volumes,” means that EPA is “failing to meet its statutory obligation to ‘ensure’ that transportation fuels in the United States contain the applicable volumes of renewable fuel.”  The petition requests EPA to (1) convene a proceeding to reconsider the annual standard equations in 40 C.F.R. § 80.1405(c); and (2) convene a proceeding to reconsider its final action entitled “Periodic Reviews for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program” (82 Fed. Reg. 58364 (Dec. 12, 2017)).

Tags: EPA, RFS, Biofuel

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts 

On June 13, 2018, representatives of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and representatives of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff to discuss the two groups’ white paper, “Proposal for a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Representation and Equivalency Determinations for Renewable and Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals.”  BRAG and BIO members provided a presentation for EPA staff that outlined the regulatory challenges and market impendence facing the biobased industry related to current naming conventions.  BRAG and BIO look forward to further dialogue with EPA on this crucial issue.


 

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 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a proposed renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel volumes rule for 2019 to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review.  The proposed rule addresses 2019 renewable blending obligations for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total biofuel, with a proposed 2020 percentage standard for biomass-based diesel. The 2019 blending requirement for biomass-based diesel is 2.1 billion gallons and was included in a final rule from 2017.

Tags: EPA, RFS, OMB

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 3, 2018, the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) announced that it had submitted a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to provide waivers from RFS requirements. Michael McAdams, President of ABFA, stated:

 “We have seen reports that the number of small refinery exemptions recently granted for compliance years 2016 and 2017 have doubled compared to previous years. ABFA members are concerned that Administrator Pruitt is granting these exemptions in an arbitrary and capricious manner to undisclosed parties behind closed doors with no accountability for its decision-making process.”

“The news reports about these exemptions have had immediate and significant market impacts on the prices of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for the biomass-based diesel (D4) and overall renewable fuel (D6) pools,” continued McAdams. “Dropping RIN prices disincentivize blending, causing economic harm to ABFA’s members and posing a threat to the integrity of the RFS program at large.​

These concerns originated when a large oil refinery, Andeavor, was granted a hardship waiver, which is typically given to small refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels per day that suffer a disproportionate economic hardship from the cost of RFS compliance. For more information, seeOpen Letter From Iowan Biofuel Producers Urges Protection Of RFS” on the BRAG blog.

Tags: EPA, RFS, ABFA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 30, 2018, 18 pro-ethanol Senators sent a bi-partisan letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting a “transparent timeline … on the regulatory pathway forward to address the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) issue,” “an expected timeline of the rulemaking process to clarify how the agency will make this change to allow higher ethanol blends access to the marketplace” and “immediate clarity to allow higher ethanol blends to be sold in the interim while the outdated regulation is being changed” as related to President Trump’s commitment to allow for 15 percent ethanol blends (E15) to be sold year-round and Pruitt’s statements in an EPA budget hearing in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment regarding EPA’s issuance of a waiver that would allow year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol.

Tags: EPA, E15, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 25, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was seeking applications for the 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards in a notice in the Federal Register.  At the 2018 Partner of the Year Awards, Safer Choice will recognize stakeholder organizations from five broad categories:

  • Formulators/Product Manufacturers of both Consumer and Institutional/Industrial products;
  • Purchasers and Distributors;
  • Retailers;
  • Supporters (e.g., non-governmental organizations); and
  • Innovators (e.g., chemical manufacturers).

EPA states it developed the Partner of the Year Awards to recognize Safer Choice stakeholders “who have advanced the goals of the Pollution Prevention Act by reducing pollution at its source through safer chemistry.”  All applications and accompanying materials must be received by Wednesday, June 27, 2018.  Award winners will be recognized at a ceremony in the fall of 2018See alsoEPA To Hold Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit 2018."  More information is available in our memorandum “ACS GCI Announces Opening of 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards; EPA Announces Opening of 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

EPA recently announced that it will be hosting a Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit on May 14, 2018, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, that will “build off of the previous Summits, exploring topics of importance to stakeholders and the program. The Summit will include informational sessions, and also breakout sessions with a focus on dialogue and developing solutions that can advance Safer Choice.”  Registration is available online. See alsoEPA Seeking Applications For 2018 Safer Choice Partner Of The Year Awards.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the third Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit 2018 in a Federal Register notice. The Summit is open to all Safer Choice program partners and stakeholders, and will include informational and breakout sessions, with a focus on dialogue and problem-solving. The event is being held on May 14, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) in Oxon Hill, MD. Registration is available online.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 29, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a Federal Register notice it is seeking public comment on the use of isobutanol in gasoline.  EPA specifically seeks comment on issues to consider regarding an application submitted by Butamax Advanced Biofuels, LLC (Butamax), a manufacturer of isobutanol, pursuant to the regulations titled “Registration of Fuels and Fuel Additives” for the registration of isobutanol as a gasoline additive at up to 16 volume percent, and any supplemental actions EPA should consider under the Clean Air Act (CAA). EPA states that Butamax’s information would likely satisfy the applicable registration requirements, and, due to the likelihood of this registration, there is potential for the widespread introduction of isobutanol into commerce.  Further information on biobutanol, the common name for isobutanol made from renewable sources, is available in the Federal Register notice.  Comments are due by April 30, 2018.


 
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