The EPA released its long-awaited proposal to establish volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). While Friday’s proposal is not perfect, it does call for steady growth in Biomass-based Diesel through 2017 and is a dramatic improvement from the EPA’s initial draft in November 2013.
The initial proposal would have held biodiesel flat at the 2013 standard of 1.28 billion gallons through 2015, but EPA’s new proposal calls for an increase of more than 600 million gallons between 2013 and 2017.
Minnesota Soybean Growers Association President George Goblish said the EPA proposal is good for Minnesota’s biodiesel industry and gives assurance into the future that the industry will be strong.
“We are pleased with the improvement in these numbers,” Goblish said. “Even though we were hoping for higher numbers, this is a good place to start and even better for Minnesota as we look toward B20.”
The EPA’s proposal represents a significant turnaround that should pave the way for healthy biodiesel markets in the coming years and also sets a precedent for further RFS growth in the future. The proposal, which is subject to public comment and change until finalized later this year, would establish the following volumes for Biomass-based Diesel:
- 2014 – 1.63 billion gallons
- 2015 – billion gallons
- 2016 – billion gallons
- 2017 – billion gallons
Additionally, the proposal includes the following growth for the overall Advanced Biofuel category, which offers further opportunity for biodiesel growth above and beyond the Biomass-based Diesel standards:
- 2014 – 2.68 billion gallons
- 2015 – 2.9 billion gallons
- 2016 – 3.4 billion gallons
MSGA Director Ed Hegland, who sits on the National Biodiesel Board, was pleased with EPA’s announcement.
“I appreciate the work that the EPA and Minnesota congressional members have done to increase these volumes,” Hegland said. “As we move forward, there will be a constant effort to try and increase these numbers to a place we know we can fulfill.”
Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register in the coming days, it will be open for public comment until July 27, including a public hearing on June 25 in Kansas City, KS.
The EPA says it will finalize the proposal by Nov. 30.