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 Kathleen M. Roberts

On May 12, 2017, the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) praised Governor Terry Branstad for signing into law the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund bill (HF 643), which provides $3 million in funding for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program.  IBB stated that it, along with industry partners, worked closely with legislature to ensure the funding language was included in Iowa’s budget, and acknowledged Branstad for being a steadfast supporter of funding renewable fuels and the infrastructure program, which is designed to encourage fuel retailers to offer biofuels.  Grant Kimberley, the IBB Executive Director, stated that proactive state policies played a key role in expanding Iowa’s biodiesel production and maintaining Iowa as the leading national producer.  According to the Iowa Department of Revenue, 471 on-road Iowa retailers carried biodiesel blends in 2016 compared to 304 in 2011.

Tags: IBB, Iowa, Biofuel

 

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 2, 2017, the Maine Senate approved a bill to support Maine’s emerging biobased products industry.  An Act to Improve the Ability of Maine Companies to Manufacture and Market Bioplastics (LD 656) would provide the Maine Technology Institute with a $1.5 million grant to provide competitive grants for the development, production, and marketing of bioplastics.  The bill was introduced by Senator Jim Dill (D-Old Town) and endorsed by Senator Dana Dow (R-Waldoboro), Senator Tom Saviello (R-Wilton), and 17 Democratic Senators.  Following approval by the Senate, the bill will be introduced to the Maine House of Representatives for an initial vote.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On April 13, 2017, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) released a statement regarding the passage of a bill, HSB 187, by the Iowa House Appropriations Committee that would cut the value of the Iowa biofuels tax credits and complicate the mechanism for receiving the credit.  According to the bill, the value of the tax credits would be determined based on annual sales, and the amount of the credits would be capped on an annual, statewide basis.  The purpose of the biofuels tax credits was to incentivize consumers to purchase higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel, such as E15, E85, and B11, by offering a tax credit to fuel retailers.  IRFA states, however, that the amendments to HSB 187 undercut the entire purpose of the tax credits since fuel retailers cannot pass the price reduction to the consumer if they do not know what the credit is at the time the fuel is sold.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On April 4, 2017, the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) announced that the Iowa Department of Revenue’s 2016 Retailers Fuel Gallons Annual Report demonstrated that more than half of Iowa’s fuel retailers carried biodiesel blends in 2016.  In 2016, 344.8 million gallons of on-road biodiesel blends were sold, which accounts for 54.7 percent of total on-road diesel fuel sales.  The report also showed that twice as many gallons of 11 - 20 percent biodiesel (B11-B20) were sold compared to lower blends.  IBB credits the growth in the use of higher biodiesel blends to Iowa’s proactive state policies, which are working as intended to increase production and consumption.  Due to the instability at the federal level, Grant Kimberley, the IBB executive director, stated that Iowa’s biofuel producers need state tax credits to stay in place now more than ever to remain competitive.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On April 4, 2017, the Hawaii State Senate Committee on Ways and Means passed HB 1580, which sets a goal of having all ground transportation in Hawaii run on renewable fuel by 2045.  The bill, which does not contain an enforcement mechanism, provides a benchmark framework for achieving the ambitious target and establishes an intermediate target to reduce the sale of imported fuels by five percent in 2025.  The Senate Committee introduced amendments that clarify the bill does not create a mandate to move to 100 percent clean ground transportation, but it outlines a path to achieve such a goal.  According to the bill, clean ground transportation includes all transportation that avoids the consumption of fossil fuels.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On March 23, 2017, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (ARB) announced the release of new carbon intensity pathways for fuels certified under the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) using the CA-GREET 2.0 model.  Of the 18 pathways approved in March, eight are first generation biodiesel carbon intensity pathways and four are second generation renewable diesel carbon intensity pathways.  A pathway for biodiesel produced from used cooking oil has been provisionally certified, as well.  The approved pathways can be used for credit reporting purposes beginning with reports for Q1 2017.  The LCFS regulation aims to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in California by 10 percent by 2020 in line with the California Health and Safety Code mandate to reduce greenhouse gases in California.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D. 

On March 24, 2017, the California Energy Commission (CEC) published a notice on the proposed recipients of up to $23 million in Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) funding for applied research and development (AR&D) and technology demonstration and development (TD&D) activities focused on advancing bioenergy electricity generation.  The funding opportunity is focused on three main bioenergy applications, including:

 
■  Efficient, Sustainable and Lower-Cost Bioenergy: Innovations to Improve Woody Biomass-to-Electricity Systems ($5,000,000);
 
■   Demonstration and Evaluation of Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Woody Biomass-to-Electricity Systems ($10,000,000); and
 
■  Demonstration and Evaluation of Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Food Waste Biomass-to-Electricity Systems ($8,000,000).
 
Of the 57 abstracts submitted, 28 passed Phase 1 screening.  All of the 23 proposals received during Phase 2 passed the administrative screening process.  CEC published the recommended funding and score for each of the 23 proposed projects.  The funding recommendations will be approved during the Energy Commission Business meeting, at which time the Energy Commission can add, remove, or shift funding to make additional awards and negotiate with applicants to modify the project scope, schedule, or funding level.

 

On March 13, 2017, the South Dakota Farmers Union announced that the National Farmers Union had passed a resolution calling for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to open the market to higher blends of ethanol during its annual meeting in San Diego.  The resolution, which was brought forward by the South Dakota Farmers Union delegation, promotes the use of higher blended fuels, such as E30, as a way to expand the retail fuels infrastructure and support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
 
In addition to passing the resolution, the National Farmers Union filed legal comments regarding EPA’s overreach in its interpretation of the Clean Air Act (CAA), which limits ethanol content to 15 percent.  Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union, called on EPA and all government regulators to reverse statements and policies that unfairly limit the amount of ethanol in fuel and stated that both the state and national organization continue to seek greater market access for higher blended fuels.


 
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