NBB presses EPA to boost biodiesel mandates

Source: By InsideEPA • Posted: Monday, September 20, 2021

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is again seeking a meeting with EPA Administrator Michael Regan to press its case for increased biodiesel use as an immediate means to cut mobile source emissions, as the agency nears proposal of biofuel blending rules that might cut or hold steady biodiesel production mandates.

In a Sept. 16 letter, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik reiterates his May request for a meeting, citing EPA’s recent report on “Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States.”

The Sept. 2 report assessed impacts including air quality health impacts, extreme temperature and health, extreme temperature and labor, coastal flooding and traffic, coastal flooding and property, and inland flooding and property.

“The report highlights an important issue but does not consider available solutions. Notably, it does not consider the health benefits from reducing other sources of pollution along with cutting carbon,” Kovarik writes.

“As you know, transportation is the largest source of U.S. carbon emissions. Replacing petroleum with drop-in alternatives like biodiesel and renewable diesel immediately reduces carbon. Additionally, biodiesel and renewable diesel reduce particulate matter and hydrocarbon emissions that contribute to cancer, lung, and heart disease rates,” Kovarik says.

Kovarik seeks a meeting with Regan “at your earliest convenience to discuss our industry’s vision to double production and use of biodiesel, renewable diesel, sustainable aviation, and bioheat® fuel over the next decade.” Regan previously declined a meeting when NBB approached him in May.

NBB is promoting a study prepared by Trinity Consultants earlier this year to support is position. The study shows biodiesel can reduce particulate matter emissions by 45 percent, bringing reductions in lifetime cancer risks, asthma attacks and premature deaths.

An NBB source says EPA has not yet responded to the letter.

NBB’s new letter comes as EPA is preparing to propose blending mandates for refiners under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for various categories of biofuel, including biodiesel. EPA will belatedly propose overall mandates for 2021 and will propose volumes for 2022, along with a possible retroactive cut in RFS volumes for 2020. Separately, EPA is working on a proposal for long-term blending volumes after 2022, when statutory mandates expire. NBB opposes reductions in biodiesel blending volumes.