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 October 11, 2018, the European Commission (EC) released a statement announcing its new action plan for a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe. The new action plan, originally announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent, aims to “improve and scale up the sustainable use of renewable sources to address global and local challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.” In his remarks, EC Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, emphasized the need for systemic changes as key drivers of change for the bioeconomy sector. Renewable and sustainable solutions depend on collaborative efforts by governments and industry stakeholders. Based on this premise, EC’s new strategy focuses on three key objectives that include 14 measures to be taken as early as 2019.  The three objectives are to:

  1. Scale up and strengthen the biobased sectors;
  2. Rapidly deploy bioeconomies across Europe; and
  3. Protect the ecosystem and understand the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy.

‚ÄčThese long- and short-term objectives focus on modernizing the European biobased economy and call for systemic changes that will reduce the large underused biomass and waste potential. The action plan will be further discussed and outlined during a conference with stakeholders, hosted by the EC on October 22, 2018, in Brussels.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 12, 2018, the EC announced new requirements for labeling fuel. As of the aforementioned date, European Union (EU) Member States must use set fuel labels on newly produced vehicles, at vehicle dealerships, and at gas stations that dispense hydrogen, diesel, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, petrol, and liquefied natural gas. Given the growing variety of fuels on the market, the EC’s new requirements address the greater need for transparency of information to consumers. The labels are to be put on the nozzles of gas filling pumps, on the pumps themselves, and in the vicinity of fuel filler caps on new cars, motorcycles, buses, and coaches, among other places.

Tags: EU, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On July 25, 2018, the European Union (EU) Supreme Court of Justice ruled that plants with genes that have been altered, even without the insertion of foreign DNA, are classified as genetically modified organisms (GMO) and therefore must undergo the same safety checks for their impacts on the environment and human health as organisms with foreign DNA.  According to Bio-Based World News, the ruling “is seen as a victory for environmentalists but a blow for the bio-economy” due to the much stricter rules that apply to GMOs.  Bio-based chemicals often require genome editing to provide renewable substitutes for petrochemical building blocks.  EuropaBio’s Secretary General, John Brennan, commented on this new ruling stating that it lacks regulatory clarity that is needed by EU researchers, academics, and innovators in the industry to deliver solutions.  EuropaBio plans to engage EU Member States and citizens in providing a fact-based dialogue on what genome editing is, and what it will or will not be used for.  The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology’s Director, Detlef Weigel, also criticized the ruling, stating that it was “a sad day for European science.”

Tags: EU, GE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 27, 2018, representatives from 11 European companies and universities gathered in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, to kick-off the EU-funded Rewofuel project.  This three-year, €19.7 million (about $23 million) project will demonstrate and evaluate how to best use wood residues from the forest industry to produce biofuels, with a long-term goal of starting new biorefineries across Europe. Rewofuel is a collaborative project that is expected to run for three years, and is being worked on by SEKAB E-Technology, Peab Asphalt, Sky NRG, Global Bioenergies, Neste Engineering Solutions, Repsol, Ajinomoto, Eurolysine, IPSB, TechnipFMC, and Linz University.  Jean-Baptiste Barbaroux, Chief Corporate Officer at Global Bioenergies, said of the project, “By combining technologies and know-how from the leading biofuels actors across Europe, the project Rewofuel will be able to demonstrate the increasingly important role of using forest materials in the European renewable energy transition. We look forward to contributing directly to the European climate and energy targets.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 14, 2018, the European Union (EU) reached a deal on the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII),which sets new targets for renewables. REDII represents stricter targets than those discussed in Brussels in 2014, upping the percentage of the EU’s energy that must come from renewable sources to 32 percent of total energy consumption by 2030. The agreement also states that at least 14 percent of transportation fuel must come from renewable sources by 2030, and includes a plan to phase out crop-based biofuels by capping the percentage of such biofuel counted towards EU Renewable Energy requirements at 7 percent of all road and rail transport. In addition to capping the counted percentage of crop-based biofuels, REDII requires the share of advanced biofuels used in transportation to reach 1 percent by 2025, and 3.5 percent by 2030. This agreement is still draft legislation with certain details left to be determined by the European Commission, including a plan to create a certification process of low indirect land use change (ILUC) biofuels that will phase out high-ILUC biofuels, including those made from palm oil. The European Parliament and the European Council still need to approve formally REDII before it goes into effect.

Tags: EU, REDII, ILUC

 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

According to documents from the European Union (EU), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the EU must remove anti-dumping (AD) duties on biodiesel imports from 13 Argentine and Indonesian producers.  Importers will be able to claim back duties that were paid in the past.  While the companies that challenged the measures are no longer subject to AD duties, the duties still apply to companies not covered under the legal challenge.  The EU initially appealed the September 2016 ECJ ruling to annul the duties but later dropped the appeal.  In addition to ECJ, the World Trade Organization has ruled against the EU AD duties, which were established in 2013.  Indonesia intends to challenge the biodiesel duties established in the U.S. and to continue expanding biodiesel subsidies to cover palm oil blended fuels for use by the mining and power sector.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 23, 2018, European Union (EU) ambassadors reached provisional agreements on the waste legislative package published by the European Commission in 2015.  The four legislative proposals include amendments to the:

  • Waste Framework Directive;
  • Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive;
  • Landfill Directive; and
  • End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV)/Batteries/Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directives. ‚Äč

The Waste Framework Directive and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive both acknowledge that biobased and compostable plastics contribute to more efficient waste management and help reduce the impacts of plastic packaging on the environment.  Amendments to the Waste Framework would permit biodegradable and compostable packaging to be collected with biowaste and recycled in industrial composting and anaerobic digestion.  Additionally, the legislation differentiates biodegradable compostable plastics from oxo-degradable plastics, which would not be considered biodegradable.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On February 20, 2018, the European Commission (EC) issued a notice of initiation of an expiry review of antidumping (AD) measures applicable to imports of U.S. bioethanol.  The AD duty that has been in place since 2013 was set to expire on February 23, 2018.  The European Renewable Ethanol Association (e-PURE) petitioned the EC on behalf of producers representing more than 25 percent of the total European Union (EU) bioethanol production to review the AD measures due to the likely recurrence of injury to the EU industry.  E-Pure alleged that the removal of injury was the result of the existence of the AD measures and that an increase of imports at dumped prices from the U.S. would likely lead to a recurrence of injury to the EU industry should the measures be allowed to lapse.  Following its determination that sufficient evidence exists to justify an expiry review, the EC will investigate whether the removal of the AD measures will likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping of U.S. bioethanol.  The investigation will conclude within 15 months.


 
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