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 August 2, 2017, DOE published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a public meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee.  The committee is comprised of approximately 30 volunteers from industry, academia, nonprofit organizations, and local government that collaborate to:

  • Advise the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Points of Contact concerning:
    • The technical focus and direction of requests for proposals issued under the Initiative; and
    • Procedures for reviewing and evaluating the proposals;
  • Facilitate consultations and partnerships among federal and state agencies, agricultural producers, industry, consumers, the research community, and other interested groups to carry out program activities relating to the Initiative; and
  • Evaluate and perform strategic planning on program activities relating to the Initiative.

The purpose of the meeting is to develop advice and guidance that promotes research and development (R&D) leading to the production of biobased fuels and products.  The tentative agenda includes updates on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE Biomass R&D activities, as well as presentations on biomass interface with fossil fuel. 
 
The meeting will take place in Los Angeles, California, from 1:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. on August 15, 2017, and from 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. on August 16, 2017.  A summary of the meeting will be available for public review on the committee website.


 

On October 26, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee via notice in the Federal Register.  This meeting will work to develop advice and guidance promoting the research and development (R&D) of biobased fuels and products.  The agenda for the meeting includes an update on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) biomass R&D activities, an update on DOE biomass R&D activities, and an update on the Biomass Research and Development Initiative Annual Committee Recommendations.  Members of the public can attend the meeting and make oral statements by contacting Elliott Levine at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and Roy Tiley at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by November 9, 2016.  The meeting will occur in Washington, D.C. on November 17, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EST) and on November 18, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST).


 

On November 1, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) announced a meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors’ (BOSC) Chemical Safety for Sustainability Subcommittee meeting via notice in the Federal Register.  This meeting will be held at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Main Campus Facility in North Carolina, and will be open to the public.  Those interested in attending must register online by November 10, 2016, and submit comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2015-0635 via www.regulations.gov, e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or other methods described in the notice.  Requests for a draft agenda or to make a statement must be made by November 14, 2016.  The meeting will be held on November 16, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (EST), and November 17, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (EST).


 

On August 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee in the Federal Register. The purpose of the meeting is to develop advice and guidance promoting research and development (R&D) for biofuel and bioproducts production. A tentative agenda includes:

  • Update on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biomass R&D Activities
     
  • Update on DOE, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and Biomass R&D Activities
     
  • Overview of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI)
     
  • Presentations on Advanced Biodigester Systems
     
  • Overview of OSTP and Its Role on the Biomass Board

The meeting will be held in Madison, WI, on August 17, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (CT) and August 18, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (CT). A meeting summary will be provided for public review online.


 

On May 25, 2016, DOE published a Notice For Solicitation of Nominations in the Federal Register to fill vacancies on the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee (Committee). The Committee advises DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on technical and direction issues related to the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. The Committee meets quarterly, typically for two days at a time, in Washington, D.C. and other locations. This round of applications is focused on individuals with a commodity trade association affiliation, an expertise in agricultural economics, or expertise in process engineering related to biorefineries or biobased coproducts that enable fuel production. Nominations are due June 30, 2016, via e-mail to Elliott Levine at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or overnight delivery service to:

Elliott Levine
Designated Federal Officer for the Committee
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Mail Stop EE-3B
1000 Independence Avenue. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20585

 

On February 24, 2016, DOE published a notice of an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee in the Federal Register. The Committee is meeting to develop advice and guidance that promotes research and development leading to the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. The agenda also includes updates on federal biomass research and development activities and budgets. The meeting will be held on March 8, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and March 9, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and make oral statements regarding any item on the agenda. To attend or make a statement, contact Elliott Levine at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and Roy Tiley at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at least five business days prior to the meeting.


 

On November 4, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. The meeting is intended to develop guidance promoting the research and development (R&D) of biobased fuel and product production. In addition to an opportunity for members of the public to make oral statements, the meeting will cover an update on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE biomass R&D activities, an update on the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, and the California Perspective on Biofuels and Energy. The meeting will occur on November 18, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and November 19, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To attend or make oral statements, send an e-mail to Elliott Levine at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and Roy Tiley at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by November 12, 2015.


 

On August 10, 2015, the Federal Register included a notice announcing an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee in Washington D.C. on August 27, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and August 28, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and is intended to develop guidance to promote the research and development of the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. The meeting will also include an update on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Biomass R&D activities; the Biomass Research and Development Initiative; and panels on Measuring Environmental Indicators and Assessment, Economic and Bioeconomy Market Development, and Biomass Resource Development. To attend the meeting or to make oral statements, contact Elliott Levine at (202) 586-1476 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); or Roy Tiley at (410) 997-7778 ext. 220, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), at least five business days before the meeting.

As a reminder, DOE is looking for additional biobased stakeholders to join the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. The deadline for nominations is this Friday, August 14, 2015.


 

As reported in last week's update, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy put out a call for nominations for candidates to join the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee. The Committee meets quarterly, typically for two days, and advises DOE and USDA on the Biomass R&D Initiative. The Committee is looking specifically for engineers or scientists from non-federal government or academia; an individual affiliated with the biobased industrial and commercial products industry; and an individual with experience with agronomy, crop science, or soil science. The Committee is also interested in individuals with experience with biorefinery process engineering or biobased coproducts that enable fuel production. Nominations are due on August 14, 2015, and should be e-mailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


 

With Republicans recapturing the Senate majority, GOP lawmakers now take the helm of several Senate committees of interest. For the most part, those Republican Senators who were ranking members now move into the chair roles.


Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee: Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) will take over the EPW reins from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). His committee will have the primary role in amending the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Senator Inhofe was lauded by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for his assistance in working with stakeholders on TSCA reform. In a public statement, Senator Inhofe stated that although TSCA's current risk-based review process protects human health and the environment, he is open to changes to the law "but only if those changes modernize chemical reviews, increase public understanding of the process, and strengthen protections for human health and the environment." He set forth several principles that he believes any TSCA revisions must follow. These are:

* The use of data and methods based on the best available science and risk-based assessment.

* Including cost/benefit considerations for the private-sector and consumers.

* Protecting proprietary business information, as well as information that should be protected for security reasons.

* Prioritizing reviews for existing chemicals.

* Eliminating provisions that encourage litigation or citizen suits.

* Avoiding provisions that compel product substitution.


Senator Inhofe is an unabashed skeptic of climate change and critic of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). He has sponsored numerous bills aiming to "rein in" the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He is also likely to be critical of many of EPA's most prominent rules, including those on powerplant emissions, fracking, water quality, and other issues. He will likely be joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).


Budget Committee: Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will take over the Budget Committee. He is a fiscal conservative, a budget hawk, and a vocal critic of the Obama Administration's spending policies.


Finance Committee: Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) will take the helm of the Finance Committee and will have significant influence on the prospects for major tax and trade reform. He is a conservative politician, but one who has demonstrated the ability and willingness to reach across the aisle to Democrats.


Energy and Natural Resources Committee: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) takes over this Committee and is most likely to battle federal control of mining and drilling interests.


In the House, Republicans retained control in the mid-term elections, but because of retirements and party-imposed term limits on committee Chairs, more than half a dozen committees will be getting new Chairs. Under House rules, GOP members can only serve three terms as senior members of a committee, unless they are granted a waiver by the Republican Steering Committee. Major House committees of interest expected to get new leaders next year include:


Agriculture Committee: With Oklahoma Representative Frank Lucas term-limited, Representative Michael Conaway (R-TX) is the most likely replacement. Representative Conaway now chairs the Ethics Committee.


Budget Committee: Representative Tom Price (R-GA) is in line to succeed Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Chair of the Budget Committee. Representative Price worked closely with Representative Ryan in assembling prior GOP budgets and he is likely to take a similar approach in crafting this year's budget.


Natural Resources Committee: Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) is expected to take over this Committee. He has pushed for more oil and gas leases on federal land and has accused the Obama Administration of using the Antiquities Act to designate unilaterally public acreage as national monuments off limits to developers.


Oversight and Government Reform Committee: In a bit of good news for the Obama Administration, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is considered the favorite to succeed term-limited Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA). Representative Chaffetz will likely be challenged by Representative Michael Turner (R-OH) and Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH). Representative Chaffetz, who currently chairs the Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on National Security, has led the investigation into security breaches involving the Secret Service, giving him a high-profile. He has a reputation for being less confrontational than Representative Issa and has reached out to Democrats on the panel, including Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Representative Issa has been a major burr under the Obama Administration's saddle, leading investigations into the Internal Revenue Service -- the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, among other topics. Along the way he has alienated not just Democrats but also fellow Republicans with his confrontational and overbearing style. Chaffetz has made it clear he would do things differently. A strong conservative, he is liked by fellow Republicans and viewed as being dogged but not shrill in his committee role.


Ways and Means Committee: Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is expected to move from the Budget Committee to become Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is arguably the most powerful House Committee chairpersonship.
 


 
 1 2 >