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 Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On November 22, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG, announced exclusive partnerships with four California fuel distributors that will provide public and private fleets access to a consistent and high-quality supply of Neste MY Renewable Diesel.  Through the partnerships with IPC (USA), Inc., Ramos Oil Company, Van De Pol Petroleum, and Western States Oil, Neste renewable diesel will be available to customers in Southern California, Northeast California, the Central Valley, and the North Coast.  According to Jeremy Baines, Vice President of Sales with Neste US, Inc., "these partnerships are vital in securing the delivery of our branded, high-quality renewable diesel to customers such as municipalities and private fleets, who will benefit from its performance and lower emissions."  Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a low-carbon drop-in fuel produced from 100 percent renewable raw materials that meets California’s strict fuel regulations.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On October 15, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed California Senate Bill (S.B.) 258, the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, which would require manufacturers of cleaning products to disclose certain chemical ingredients on the product label and on the manufacturer’s website.  The final version of S.B. 258 was passed by the California Senate on September 13, 2017, by a vote of 27 to 13.  The California Assembly passed the bill by a vote of 55 to 15, with nine votes not recorded, on September 12, 2017.  The online disclosure requirements would apply to a designated product sold in California on or after January 1, 2020, and the product label disclosure requirements would apply to a designated product sold in California on or after January 1, 2021.  The bill was co-sponsored by several non-governmental organizations as well as a few manufacturers of cleaning products including Honest Company, Seventh Generation, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, RB - Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Eco Lab WD-40, fragrance maker Givaudan, and the Consumer Specialty Products Association.  More information on S.B. 258 is available in our memorandum “California Bill Would Require Disclosure of Cleaning Product Ingredients.” 

The State of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Materials Management will soon release formally a similar initiative, the Household Cleaning Product Information Disclosure Program.  This program will require manufacturers of domestic and commercial cleaning products distributed, sold, or offered for sale in New York State to furnish information regarding such products in a certification form prescribed by the Commissioner, and is expected to require disclosure of many more chemicals than S.B. 258.  The period for comments on the draft certification form and guidance document related to the program ended on July 14, 2017.

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) will soon be releasing a detailed memorandum on both developments to be available on our regulatory developments webpage


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On July 25, 2017, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) announced that the California Air Resource Board (CARB) certified a biodiesel additive that will make California B20 blends the cleanest diesel fuel with the lowest emissions profile available in the U.S.  The additive known as Branded VESTA™1000 reduces every measurable regulated emission, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), when blended with CARB diesel fuel, California’s unique clean-burning biodiesel formulation.  A 20 percent blend of biodiesel with the additive reduced NOx by 1.9 percent and particulate matter by 18 percent compared to CARB diesel.  The certified additive ensures compliance with CARB’s Alternative Diesel Fuel Regulation, which goes into effect on January 1, 2018.  NBB led the initial research and development of the additive.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On July, 19, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG, issued a statement to congratulate California on its strong climate leadership supporting the transition to clean energy.  Neste stated that it looks forward to continuing to support the State's targets at curbing carbon emissions through its renewable products. 
 
With a two-thirds majority, the California State Senate and Assembly voted to extend the State’s cap-and-trade program until 2030, and to codify the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) into law.  The LCFS regulation aims to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in California by ten percent by 2020, in line with the California Health and Safety Code mandate to reduce greenhouse gases in California.  The law will now recognize low-carbon transportation alternatives for the allocation of future Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds (GGRF) from related auction revenues.


 

 

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 December 22, 2016, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that the public comment period for the draft Alternatives Analysis (AA) Guide for the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program has been extended to February 3, 2017. The guide, which was released on December 19, 2016, aims to help relevant stakeholders navigate all phases of the SCP AA process and provide useful approaches, methods, resources, tools and examples of how to fulfill SCP's regulatory requirements. The draft AA Guide is available through the Safer Consumer Products Information Management System (CalSAFER). The SCP program aims to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products using a four step process that identifies specific products that contain potentially harmful chemicals and asks manufacturers to assess whether the chemical is necessary and whether a safer alternative can be used.


 

On June 15, 2016, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced three new members of the Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP). The new members are Jack Linard, Ph.D., Personal Care Regulatory Affairs Team for Unilever North America; Elaine Cohen Hubal, Ph.D., Deputy National Program Director for EPA's Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS) Research Program; and Mark Nicas, Ph.D., MPH, CIH, Associate Adjunct Professor Emeritus for the University of California, Berkeley. The new members will work with existing panel members to advise DTSC on Safer Consumer Products (SCP) regulations implementation. GRSP will also provide input and advice on other discussion topics, including the Department's Alternative Analysis Guide, and the implementation of the 2015-2017 Priority Products Work Plan.


 

On April 8, 2016, the California State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (Commission) sued Mendota Bioenergy LLC, claiming it improperly spent public money targeted for equipment purchases. The bioenergy company entered into an agreement with the Commission in March 2013 to construct and operate a 10,000 ton beet to ethanol demonstration plant. After amending the agreement, Mendota agreed to build a 2,400 ton demonstration plant with the Commission providing nearly $5 million in reimbursements, with Mendota providing the remaining $6.5 million. Mendota submitted an equipment invoice from Easy Energy Systems for $1.77 million, which was reimbursed by the Commission, but it was later discovered that the invoiced equipment was never delivered and Mendota used the $1.77 million for other expenses, not all of which were reimbursable under the grant agreement. The Commission voted to end the grant agreement with Mendota in December 2015, and is seeking the return of public funds as well as punitive damages.


 
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