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.

On September 25, 2015, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to amend the Biofuel Development and In-State Production Incentive Act by removing a ten percent ethanol blend requirement that occurs when Pennsylvania ethanol production exceeds 350 million gallons. The Act was originally passed in 2008. Since the incentive was put in place, Pennsylvania has not come close to reaching the 350 million gallon threshold. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.


 

On August 10, 2015, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) signed into law S.B. 2599/A-4121, an act concerning the definition of certain fuels and amending P.L.2010, c.22. The legislation clarifies New Jersey's Motor Fuel Tax Act exemptions to include biofuels made from recycled grease, plants, and animal fats. In addition, biobased liquid fuel and biodiesel fuel are now defined as renewable biomass. The clarification of the biofuel tax exemption is intended to encourage biodiesel businesses to invest in New Jersey now that they can be certain that they qualify for tax exemptions. The bipartisan bill was passed unanimously by the New Jersey Assembly on June 25, 2015.


 

Iowa Senate bill SF 350: the Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit Program was introduced in March 2015, and is awaiting review in the Ways & Means Committee. If passed, the legislation will allow producers of renewable chemicals in Iowa to claim a five cent per pound tax credit, with a maximum credit of $1 million for businesses operating in Iowa for five years or less, and a maximum credit of $500,000 for businesses operating in Iowa for more than five years. Chemicals must have at least a 50 percent biobased content to qualify as renewable chemicals under the bill, and must also be sold and used for purposes other than food, feed, or fuel.


 

On April 1, 2015, the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich (R), signed the 2016-2017 Transportation Budget Bill (Sub. H.B. 53). The state transportation budget does not include a requirement on alternative fuel use in the state vehicle fleet, a requirement that had been in place since 2006. Ohio Department of Transportation's Matt Bruning stated that the requirement mandated the state increase the amount of alternative fuels each year with no cap in place, resulting in higher costs for the state, especially with the recent decrease in prices for traditional petroleum-based fuels. "It's not that we don't like alternative fuels -- it's just a cost thing, really," stated Bruning to WOSU Public Media. The loss of the biofuels mandate in Ohio will only impact fuels used by state vehicle fleets.


 

On May 21, 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) signed into law Senate Bill 2344, legislation to help promote the biofuels industry in the State. A copy of the legislation is available online. It extends the biodiesel production tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of 2014, enhances Iowa's E-15 retailer tax credit, and adds biobutanol as a renewable fuel option. This law reinforces Iowa's ongoing support for the biofuels industry.


 

On March 17, 2014, the Minnesota House of Representatives adopted the report of the Committee on Agriculture Policy as amended on H.F. No. 2456. The report has been re-referred to the Minnesota House of Representatives Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance. H.F. 2456 would create renewable chemical and advanced biofuel capital equipment loans for qualifying Minnesota renewable chemical and advanced biofuels producers. A copy of the report as amended is available online.


 

On January 28, 2014, the pro-safer chemicals coalition Safer States released a report in which it found that "at least 33 states are considering policies [to enhance chemical safety]. Some would change disclosure rules for manufacturers, so that concerned consumers will know what chemicals are in their products. Some would phase out the use of chemicals like bisphenol A, formaldehyde and toxic flame retardants." The report is available online.


There is increased momentum for chemical safety legislation in the wake of the January 9, 2014, chemical spill in West Virginia. Several bills have also been introduced at the federal level to increase chemical safety and security. In particular, the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act of 2014 was introduced this week (see above). The bill will strengthen states' ability to prevent chemical spills. Additionally, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) was introduced last year to reform TSCA. CSIA has been criticized for having weak state preemption provisions. B&C has issued a summary of both bills, which are available here and here.