American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser urged Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to amend EPA’s proposed 2014 and 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements for biomass-based diesel that, if left unchanged, would significantly damage the nation’s growing biodiesel industry and adversely impact soybean growers.
In comments submitted to the agency Jan. 28, Gaesser,a farmer from Corning, Iowa, emphasized that EPA’s proposed biomass-based diesel and total Advanced Biofuels levels “are unnecessarily low, will stifle the growth and job creation potential demonstrated by the biodiesel industry, and squander an opportunity for greater emissions reductions and energy diversity.” Gaesser also noted that the levels are “… entirely inconsistent with this administration’s clear position over the past five years supporting renewable and advanced biofuels for their energy, environmental, and economic benefits.”
ASA urged that EPA adjust the requirements to be consistent with production levels in 2013, which exceeded 1.7 billion gallons.
“As was demonstrated in 2013, the U.S. biodiesel industry can produce volumes greater than 1.28 billion gallons without significant cost or disruption to the economy,” says Gaesser. “There are over 2 billion gallons of U.S. biodiesel production capacity already built and operable and there is sufficient feedstock available to produce above the 1.28 billion gallons proposed by EPA.
“Biodiesel, including biodiesel produced from soybean oil, is the most prevalent advanced biofuel currently produced in the United States. The industry has met or exceeded the RFS biomass-based diesel volume requirements every year they have been in place and 2013 production exceeded 1.7 billion gallons,” he says.
Gaesser noted that biodiesel provides numerous benefits for consumers and society as a whole, including support for jobs, displacing petroleum, reducing emissions, lowering soy meal costs for livestock producers and providing a market for over 5 billion pounds of soy oil, much of which was displaced from food markets due to trans fat issues.
“There will be both direct and indirect employment benefits in rural areas due to increased biodiesel production,” wrote Gaesser.
While biodiesel is not the only factor involved, the economic benefits are supported by the fact that over the past five years, a period when biofuels production has increased significantly, the U.S. agricultural sector has experienced an increase in cash receipts for both crops and livestock, farm related income, gross cash income, and net cash income.