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SWBA Endorses Bipartisan Senate Push For Biodiesel Standards

Nearly a quarter of the Senate, 16 Democrats and eight Republicans, signed the letter to President Obama asking for his assistance "to ensure that America maintains a viable domestic biodiesel industry that is capable of producing renewable diesel replacement fuel."
by Staff Writers
Albuquerque NM (SPX) Aug 19, 2009
The Southwestern Biofuels Association (SWBA) has announced its support for a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Senate calling on President Barack Obama to keep the U.S. biodiesel industry alive by immediately implementing the biomass-based diesel mandate required under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

"The delay in getting a final rule on biodiesel from EPA is crippling the industry," said Vaughn Gangwish, executive director of SWBA.

"Without the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2) mandate, carbon-based oil companies have no economic incentive to buy biodiesel, and consequently 70 percent of the domestic production capacity is idle. That statistic would represent a severe economic challenge to any industry."

Nearly a quarter of the Senate, 16 Democrats and eight Republicans, signed the letter to President Obama asking for his assistance "to ensure that America maintains a viable domestic biodiesel industry that is capable of producing renewable diesel replacement fuel."

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) was a signer on the letter, following up on his June letter, along with Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), urging EPA to consider an interim rulemaking on RFS-2. "Senator Udall and the rest of our New Mexico delegation's support for a viable biodiesel industry is critical.

They clearly understand the issue, and they are working hard to secure jobs and a cleaner, safer and more viable domestic fuel supply," Gangwish said.

EISA directs EPA to ensure that fuel sold in the United States contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel, including biodiesel. The RFS program is intended to set a requirement of 500 million gallons of biodiesel to be blended into diesel fuel in 2009 increasing to at least 1 billion gallons in 2012 and beyond. EPA recently announced a two-month extension to the comment period for the new regulations which could delay implementation well into 2010.

"There are companies in the biodiesel sector that won't survive until 2010 without a domestic market," Gangwish said.

"Since we have been unable to convince EPA to develop an interim rule, we applaud the Senators who signed this letter for taking the industry's concerns to the top. We know President Obama is committed to energy independence and renewable energy, and we hope he will make a decision in our favor."

Spearheaded by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-SD) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the letter to President Obama requests that the Administration exercise its authority immediately, either by Executive Order or through Agency action, to provide "greater certainty" for the 2009 and 2010 RFS-2 volume mandates for biodiesel.

"Prompt attention is critical to the survival of the biodiesel industry, will provide greater certainty in the marketplace, and is needed to further the energy security, environmental and economic interest of the country."

SWBA is a non-profit organization promoting renewable biofuels through strategic partnerships between the Southwest's biofuel industry, universities, national laboratories, state agencies, educators, consumers, business entrepreneurs, agribusiness, environmental and other interested organizations.

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