Biodiesel

Biodiesel

ASA Positions

  • ASA supports continued implementation of the RFS2 program, and opposes any legislative efforts that would re-open, revise, or repeal the RFS.
  • ASA opposes any waiver of the biomass-based diesel portion of the RFS.
  • The EPA’s proposal to set the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Required Volume Obligation (RVO) for Biomass-based diesel at 1.28 billion gallons for 2014 and 2015 would be a set back to the U.S. biodiesel industry as production this year is expected to reach 1.7 billion gallons.
  • Setting the 2014 and 2015 RVO at a level lower than 2013 production would result in reduced demand for soybean oil, which accounts for about half of all U.S. biodiesel production.
  • The 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel that has been produced in 2013 will utilize over 6 billion pounds of soybean oil.
  • ASA supports re-authorization and increased mandatory funding for the Biodiesel Fuel Education program in the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • ASA supports negotiation of a bilateral agreement between the EU and U.S. that would establish an aggregate approach for certifying U.S. compliance with the sustainable land use requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

National BioDiesel Board Logo

Learn more about biodiesel from the National Biodiesel Board.

#RefuelTheRFS Resource Center
Why #RefuelTheRFS?

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a proposal that would set the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Required Volume Obligation (RVO) for Biomass-based diesel at 1.28 billion gallons for 2014 and 2015. This would be a setback to the U.S. biodiesel industry as production this year is expected to reach 1.7 billion gallons, and setting the 2014 and 2015 RVO at a level lower than 2013 production would be detrimental to the U.S. biodiesel industry and soybean farmers.

Reducing the 2014 and 2015 RVO for Biomass-based diesel below 2013 production levels would result in reduced demand for soybean oil, which accounts for about half of all U.S. biodiesel production. The 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel that is expected to be produced in 2013 will utilize over 6 billion pounds of soybean oil.

ASA needs your help and the help of all soybean farmers to encourage the EPA to #RefuelTheRFS by setting the 2014 RVO for biomass-based diesel at 1.7 billion gallons. Below is a collection of resources including letters, fact sheets and talking points for you to use as you talk to your elected officials about this critical issue.

Public Comments:

ASA Member Comments to EPA 

Download (DOC, 245KB)

Send the above message directly to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy by clicking here.

Talking Points:

Talking Points on Maintaining Progress in the RFS 

Download (DOC, 240KB)

News Releases:

ASA Director Cunningham Testifies on Importance of Raising the Proposed Biodiesel RVO – 12/5/13

EPA’s RFS Proposal Goes Backward on Biodiesel – 11/15/15

Testimony:

Testimony from ASA Director Mike Cunningham to EPA 

Download (DOC, 244KB)

Letters:

Letter from the Senate to EPA 

Download (PDF, 908KB)

Iowa Letter Requesting Hearing 

Download (PDF, 558KB)

Dear Colleague Letter from Reps. Latham and McIntyre 

Download (PDF, 71KB)

Letter from Sens. Murray, Blunt, Franken and Grassley to EPA 

Download (DOC, 30KB)

Communications from EPA:

EPA’s Original Proposed Rule 

Download (PDF, 991KB)

EPA’s Regulatory Announcement 

Download (PDF, 184KB)

Issues Background
The biodiesel tax incentive has encouraged significant investment to expand the domestic biodiesel industry and help it become price competitive with petroleum diesel. Extension of the tax incentive is critical to the industry’s existence and growth. At this stage, biodiesel requires the tax incentive to be cost competitive with the more mature and entrenched petroleum industry. Biodiesel is the only advanced biofuel that is currently commercially available in the U.S. and it provides significant economic, energy security, environmental and health benefits. The tax credit was extended in the package to avert the fiscal cliff in January 2013, and will expire December 31, 2013.

An economic impact study conducted for the industry found that the expiration of the tax credit and the accompanying 42 percent drop in production for 2010 resulted in the loss of nearly 8,900 jobs, a reduction in real GDP of $879 million, and a drop in household income of $485 million.

The study estimated that the industry supported more than 31,000 jobs in 2011, generated income of nearly $1.7 billion, and created more than $3 billion in GDP. Under projected expansion by 2015, that economic impact would grow even further to supporting more than 74,000 jobs, $4 billion in income, and some $7.3 billion in GDP.

The biodiesel industry supports continued growth of the RFS and strongly supports the biomass-based diesel requirement of 1.28 billion gallons in 2013. ASA opposes any legislative efforts that would re-open, revise, or repeal the RFS. While there may be some issues that need to be addressed, it should be done administratively or through the regulatory process, not through legislation that could make the RFS vulnerable to efforts to reduce or repeal the program.

The Biodiesel Fuel Education Program was authorized and funded at $1 million per year under Section 9006 of the 2008 Farm Bill. ASA supports reauthorization and increased mandatory funding to $2 million per year in the 2013 Farm Bill.

The program plays a vital role in helping expand marketplace acceptance and use of biodiesel as a low-carbon, renewable diesel replacement fuel. It supports technical outreach efforts to engine manufacturers, truckers, and fuel marketers that allow the use of higher biodiesel blends in conventional diesel applications. The education program serves to expand and increase market penetration, thus promoting growth for the entire industry. This translates into higher production, more jobs, and more economic value, especially in rural communities.

Specifically, the biodiesel education program had a large part to play in building automakers trust in, and support for, biodiesel blends. Since 2003, the industry has achieved great success in garnering support from engine manufacturers for biodiesel through the biodiesel education program. Currently, 34 major U.S automakers and engine manufacturers accept the use of B5 and up to B20.

With regard to the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the EU imported $2.0 billion in U.S. soybeans in 2011. Since the EU requires food products to be labeled if they contain biotech ingredients and 93 percent of U.S. soybeans are biotech, food companies have reformulated their products to avoid using U.S. soybean oil. As a result, most of the oil from processing U.S. soybeans in the EU is used in biodiesel production. As implementation of the RED disqualifies U.S. soy biodiesel from EU tax credits and use mandates, suppliers will source biodiesel and feedstocks from other countries and U.S. soybean producers will lose an important export market.

The RED was adopted by the EU in April 2009, and its sustainable land use requirements entered into force on January 1, 2011. It is required to be transposed into national law by the EU’s 27 Member States, but only Germany, Denmark, Austria, and the Netherlands have done so to date. The EU is taking action against Member States who are not in compliance, and U.S. soybean exports to the EU are expected to further decline as more countries begin to enforce RED requirements.

Partially as a result of RED implementation to date, U.S. soybean exports to the EU fell 41 percent in 2011 from 2010 levels, and 37 percent compared to the previous five-year average. A recent study carried out for USB by LMC International projects that the RED will divert the remaining $2.0 billion in U.S. soybean exports to other countries, costing U.S. soybean farmers an estimated $270 million, or $0.08 per bushel, per year. If soybean imports from all origins are diverted, the loss to U.S. producers would be $1.17 billion, or $0.35 per bushel.

The RED has two requirements that are negatively affecting imports of U.S. soybeans. To be eligible for EU tax credits and use mandates, biofuels must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by a minimum of 35 percent, compared to petroleum diesel, by 2013. This threshold will increase to 50 percent in 2017 and to 60 percent in 2018. The RED establishes default values for emission savings for each biofuel based on the feedstock used. The default value set for soy-based biodiesel is 31 percent – less than the initial 35 percent requirement. This value was determined by the EU’s Joint Research Center using production, processing, and transportation data from Brazil, the largest soybean exporter to the EU. Analysis substituting U.S. data but using the same methodology, conducted for USB by Omni Tech International, documented that the actual emissions savings for U.S. soy biodiesel, depending on various assumptions, are in a range of from 41 to 57 percent. Addressing U.S. compliance with the GHG reduction requirement is further complicated by the EU’s intention to recalculate emissions savings taking indirect land use change into account.

The second RED requirement is that feedstocks used to produce biodiesel must be certified as having been produced sustainably on land that has not been converted from rain forest or other high carbon density conditions. Certification is to be carried out by companies in compliance with one of several EU-approved schemes under which the production, shipment, and processing of the feedstock can be traced in order to verify compliance with sustainability requirements. U.S. government officials have submitted data to DG-Energy documenting that U.S. farm law requires conservation compliance, including Sodbuster and Swampbuster, and other stewardship practices which meet RED standards. They have requested the EU to enter into bilateral negotiations to establish an aggregate approach for determining U.S. eligibility under the RED requirements based on 99 percent compliance of U.S. producers with U.S. conservation laws and annual audits by USDA.

ASA and other U.S. organizations, including USB, USSEC, NOPA, NAEGA, and NGFA, have been working closely with USDA and USTR to address these issues in order to keep the EU market open for U.S. soybean exports. Private sector delegations have met with EU Member State government officials and industry to obtain commitments that they will continue to accept shipments of U.S. soybeans until bilateral negotiations are completed. ASA also sent comments to USTR in February 2012 asking that concerns with the RED as well as EU biotech regulations be addressed in the U.S.-EU High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth. In addition, ASA and other organizations have asked the USG to include agreement in the bilateral agreement that GHG emissions of U.S. biodiesel should not be subject to RED restrictions, which would result in a disruption of trade.

Download ASA Position Paper on Biodiesel
Soy Action Center

Reach out to your member of Congress on this issue:
Soy Action Center