First increases for biomass-based diesel in several years, but full potential not realized
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes will be increased above previous year levels, which is good news for the soybean industry. The increase, however, is mitigated by the absence of reallocation of the significant gallons that were waived under exemptions issued previously by EPA to refineries.
The final rule sets the 2020 requirement for biomass-based biodiesel (BBD) volumes at 2.43 billion gallons, a 330-million-gallon increase over the 2018 and 2019 levels. Total advanced biofuel volumes, which are largely filled by biodiesel, are increased to 4.92 billion gallons.
American Soybean Association (ASA) President John Heisdorffer, a soybean producer from Keota, Iowa, acknowledged the progress, saying, “We welcome this increase, as it helps a growing market for soybean oil. We are glad to see EPA acknowledge that biodiesel can play a larger role in our nation’s fuel supply.”
While ASA appreciates the increased biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020, Heisdorffer reiterated the ability and capacity for additional growth. “As ASA communicated to EPA during the rulemaking process, soybean farmers and our biodiesel industry partners can meet these targets, and we have the production capacity and feedstock to reasonably achieve even further growth.”
ASA and its biodiesel industry partners also remain concerned that EPA has not reallocated the previous year volumes that have been waived through exemptions granted to refineries by EPA. The agency’s data shows that the retroactive small refinery exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons in 2018.
“The biodiesel industry supports agriculture by creating jobs, diversifying fuel sources, and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. EPA is moving in a better direction, but we urge the Administration to address the waived volumes and support the full potential of U.S. soybean farmers and biodiesel producers.”