All Biobased and Renewable Products News

May 24, 2013
Farm Bill
Full Senate consideration began this week of its version of the next five-year Farm Bill, S. 964, the Agriculture, Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013. As we reported last week, on May 14, S. 964 was passed out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry by a vote of 15-5. Importantly, it includes an energy title with mandatory funding and eligibility for renewable chemicals. The Senate continues to debate amendments to the bill. It has been reported that Senate leadership is still processing which of the nearly 200 amendments to the bill will receive a vote. For this ... read more >
May 24, 2013
McCarthy Nomination
On May 16, 2013, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) voted 10-8 to approve President Obama's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Gina McCarthy. McCarthy is currently EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. The vote was along party lines, with ten Democrats voting for her nomination and eight Republicans against it. McCarthy has worked for moderate Republicans in the past, and she is generally respected for her knowledge and fair approach. Among the Republicans on the Senate EPW Committee, Ranking Member David Vitter ... read more >
May 24, 2013
Moniz Is Confirmed As Energy Secretary
On May 21, 2013, Dr. Ernest Moniz was sworn in as the 13th U.S. Secretary of Energy. The full Senate approved Dr. Moniz's nomination by a vote of 97-0 on May 16, 2013. Dr. Moniz started his career as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1973, left in the 1990s to serve in the Clinton Administration as an Undersecretary at the Department of Energy, and then returned to MIT until taking on his current role as Energy Secretary. Most recently, Dr. Moniz led MIT's energy initiative. He is well respected on both sides of the aisle as a supporter of renewables ... read more >
May 24, 2013
New Fuel Pathways
EPA announced this week that it has signed off on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend administratively the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, by among other things adding additional eligible pathways, which include eligible feedstocks. Unless prescribed in the final rule implementing the RFS, renewable fuel producers need to request that EPA approve their pathways, which include their feedstocks and technology, so that their fuel may qualify for renewable identification numbers (RIN) under the program. EPA has been criticized for taking too long to approve new ... read more >
May 24, 2013
EPA’s proposed Tier 3 rulemaking
EPA's proposed Tier 3 rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on May 21, 2013. After much public pressure, it was reported on May 23 that EPA is likely to push the deadline for comment back to July 1, 2013. While the main portion of the Tier 3 rulemaking in EPA's proposal seeks to create more stringent vehicle emissions standards and reduce the sulfur content of gasoline beginning in 2017, several pieces of it impact the biofuels industry. For instance, EPA is proposing to change the federal emissions test fuel to E15. The proposed rule published in the Federal Register ... read more >
May 24, 2013
Foreign Fuels Reduction Act
Last week, Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced S. 977, the Foreign Fuels Reduction Act. The purpose of the bill is to help prevent sugarcane ethanol imported from Brazil from being used to fulfill the annual advanced renewable volume obligations (RVO). Under the RFS, EPA may lower the cellulosic RVOs each year, while maintaining the overall advanced RVOs. To date, EPA has chosen this way to implement the RFS so lowered cellulosic volumes could be made up by advanced fuels. Imported sugarcane ethanol has largely made up the difference. S.977 would require EPA to ... read more >
May 17, 2013
Farm Bill
  This week, the Agriculture Committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed their versions of the next five-year Farm Bill. The full Senate is expected to consider its version of the Farm Bill on May 20, while the full House is not expected to consider its version until later this year. Below, please find brief summaries of Farm Bill activities this week, particularly as they relate to renewable chemicals and biofuels. Senate On May 14, 2013, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, led by Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), marked-up ... read more >
May 17, 2013
House Energy And Commerce Committee Releases Third RFS Paper For Comment
Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued its third in a series of white papers for public comment on aspects of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The white papers are designed to solicit comment from interested stakeholders on various aspects of the RFS in preparation for Committee hearings on the policy and potential revisions to it later this year. The latest paper solicits comment on "greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts associated with the RFS." Comments are due via e-mail to by May 24, 2013. The ... read more >
May 17, 2013
New Legislation To Open The RFS To Natural Gas
On May 14, 2013, Representative Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1959, a bill to amend the federal RFS to allow natural gas to qualify under the program. In public statements upon the bill's introduction, Representative Olson reiterated his ultimate goal to see the entire RFS ... read more >
May 17, 2013
EPA Begins Work On 2014 RFS Volumes
As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues work to prepare in final the 2013 renewable volume obligations (RVO) under the RFS, the Agency is also beginning its work to set the 2014 RVOs. Under the RFS, EPA has an obligation to issue in final the following year's RVOs by November 30 of the preceding year. EPA did not meet that requirement for the 2013 RVOs, due in part to legal challenges to its final rules setting the 2011 cellulosic RVO and 2012 ... read more >
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