(ANKENY, Iowa) – The Chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board today asked the Environmental Protection Agency to set higher requirements for biodiesel under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Testifying at an EPA hearing in Michigan, IBB joined the National Biodiesel and its members in asking EPA to set the 2020 Biomass-based Diesel volume at 2.8 billion gallons, rather than the 2.43 billion gallons currently proposed.
Tom Brooks, chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and General Manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa, issued the following statement from his testimony:
“Iowa is the nation’s leading biodiesel-producing state, making about 305 million gallons last year. That puts us in a unique position to comment on our industry’s production capabilities and the impact this RFS law has on our businesses, our state’s economy, and the communities we serve.
“EPA’s current proposed volumes, at face value, may seem like growth. But they effectively hold us flat – again – at a time when we are operating below capacity. Under the recently departed Administrator, EPA granted exemptions to an unusually high number of refiners. This undercut biodiesel demand by an estimated 300 million gallons.
“That happens to equal Iowa’s 2017 production, almost exactly. So the impact of these exemptions is like wiping out a year’s worth of production in the nation’s top biodiesel-producing state.
“EPA itself acknowledges that the small refiner exemptions have created carryover RINs that will flow into 2019, reducing the demand for biofuels below the volumes it has proposed. You have the opportunity to repair this fault by further expanding biodiesel volumes.
“As chairman of IBB, I know firsthand the biodiesel industry stands ready to meet growing volumes. In fact, on the promise of a brighter future, the Iowa biodiesel industry has increased its capacity by more than 20 percent in the last few years. But we’re operating at 25 percent under capacity.
“Our members say there are other expansion projects ready and waiting, including at my own plant. Most are on hold until we see that the government is committed to year-over-year growth of the RFS. We can meet production demand, and we have substantial room for growth.
“Lastly, I will point out that, caught in the crossfire of trade disputes and other market dynamics, farming income is at its lowest level in more than a decade. While we have a record number of soybean acres planted, soybean prices are below what is considered break-even. USDA projects a massive oversupply of soybeans in the U.S., in its latest crop report. Biodiesel can help alleviate this.
“We urge EPA, in this new chapter, to follow through on the president’s pledge to support biofuels and protect the RFS in a way that is genuine and impactful.”
Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from agricultural byproducts and co-products, such as soybean oil. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry. For more information on biodiesel, visit Iowabiodiesel.org.
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Contact: Jenna Higgins Rose
(573) 808-0815 (cell)