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 March 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued in the Federal Register a notice announcing the submission of an information collection request (ICR) on the guidelines for designating biobased products for federal procurement to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Pursuant to Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA) of 2002, as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (FCEA) of 2008, and the Agricultural Act of 2014, federal agencies are required to purchase biobased products under the preferred procurement program.  Product categories for preferred procurement are established by rulemaking based on the availability of biobased products, the economic and technological feasibility of using such products, and the costs of using such products.  Additionally, federal agencies are provided with information on the availability, price, performance, and environmental and public health benefits of such product categories, and, where appropriate, the recommended level of biobased material to be contained in the procured product.  Such information is gathered under the ICR from biobased product manufacturers and vendors by the Office of Procurement and Property Management (OPPM) and its contractors.  USDA is seeking comments on:

  • Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of USDA, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • The accuracy of USDA’s estimate of burden, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
Tags: USDA, OMB, Comments

 

On November 22, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register of an opportunity to comment on petitions requesting EPA initiate a rulemaking process to reconsider its regulations that impose the obligation for compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) annual standards on gasoline and diesel fuel refiners and importers, as well as on EPA’s proposed denial of the petitions. As the notice states, EPA is looking for petitioners to demonstrate the change in the point of obligation would improve the effectiveness of the RFS program, thus warranting the substantial disruption and increased complexity it would bring to the program. According to EPA, the petitioners have not demonstrated that the change would result in increased use of renewable fuels. EPA is seeking comments on the submitted petitions and its proposed denial of the requests to initiate rulemaking. EPA requests that comments address the likelihood of a change in the point of obligation resulting in a significant increase in production, distribution, and use of renewable fuels. Comments are due January 23, 2017.


 

On October 19, 2015 the Federal Register published a correction to the due date for comments for the Notice of Opportunity To Comment on an Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Attributable to Production and Transport of Jatropha Curcas Oil for Use in Biofuel Production. The October 15, 2015, Biobased and Renewable Products Update included the article EPA Issues Draft GHG Analysis For Production and Transport of Jatropha Oil that listed the incorrect date for comments to be received. The correct date that comments must be received by is November 12, 2015.


 

On September 15, 2015, the head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, spoke at the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference about the need of the upcoming RFS rule to encourage long-term investment in advanced biofuels to successfully grow capacity. McCarthy went on to say that the November 30, 2015, deadline is a priority for her to have the RFS rule finished to improve investment conditions for biofuels. She considers the RFS to be one of the best tools that the Administration has in the long-term fight against climate change. EPA is currently looking at approximately 650,000 comments from the proposed rule containing changes for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 blending requirements, and McCarthy stated that she has heard the industry's major concerns.