Biobased and Renewable Products News: Capitol Hill

January 19, 2018
Rural Prosperity Task Force Presents Findings To President Trump
On January 8, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue presented to President Donald Trump the findings of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.  The Task Force was established in 2017 following an Executive Order by President Trump to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.  According to the report, over 100 actions organized around five key topic areas, specifically e-connectivity, quality of life, rural workforce, innovation and technology, and economic development, were ... read more >
January 12, 2018
ITA Issues CVD Orders On Biodiesel From Argentina And Indonesia
On January 4, 2018, the International Trade Administration (ITA) issued in the Federal Register a notice of the countervailing duty (CVD) orders on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia based on the affirmative final determinations by the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission (ITC).  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post ITC Issues Final Determinations On Biodiesel From Argentina And Indonesia, after DOC issued its final affirmative determination on November 16, 2017, ITC filed its final determination on ... read more >
January 5, 2018
ITC Issues Final Determinations On Biodiesel From Argentina And Indonesia
On December 28, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued in the Federal Register a notice regarding its final determination on the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia.  Pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930, ITC determined that an industry in the United States is materially injured by reason of imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, which have been found by the Department of Commerce (DOC) to be subsidized by the governments of Argentina and Indonesia.  ITC completed and filed its ... read more >
December 15, 2017
Agencies Seek Public Comment On Extension Of ICR On Biobased Procurements Data
On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued in the Federal Register a notice of request for public comment regarding an extension of a previously approved ICR regarding biobased procurements.  Pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause 52.223-2, prime contractors are required to report annually the product types and dollar values of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-designated biobased products purchased to the System for Award Management (SAM) ... read more >
November 17, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
The Hill, “Senate Moves Toward Confirming Trump EPA Air Nominee” Bloomberg Politics, “U.S. Subpoenas Icahn Over Biofuel Action While Trump Adviser” Newsweek, “Scientists Work To Make Better Plastics From Sunlight” University of Delaware, “Research Aims To Help Renewable Jet Fuel Take ... read more >
November 10, 2017
Senators Re-Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Extend MLP Benefits To Renewables
On October 25, 2017, bipartisan legislation aimed at leveling the playing field between renewable and fossil fuels was re-introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives.  Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), along with eight bipartisan co-sponsors, introduced the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act (S. 2005) in the Senate.  Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), along with six co-sponsors, introduced similar legislation (H.R. 4118) in the House.  The legislation would allow investors in a range of clean energy projects, including renewable fuels, access to a corporate structure whose ... read more >
November 3, 2017
Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Establish Renewable Chemicals Tax Credit
On October 18, 2017, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced to the Senate the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017 (S. 1980), which aims to establish a short-term tax credit for the production of renewable chemicals and for investment in renewable chemical production facilities.  If enacted, the legislation would allow taxpayers to claim a production credit equal to $0.15 per pound of biobased content of each renewable chemical produced.  In lieu of the production credit, taxpayers would be able to claim an investment credit equal to 30 percent of the basis of any eligible property ... read more >
November 3, 2017
EPA Sends Letter To Senators Addressing RFS Issues
On October 19, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) to confirm his commitment to support the spirit and the letter of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  In the letter, Pruitt stated that, following a detailed analysis, numerous stakeholder meetings, and review of public comments, it was determined that EPA would not grant the petition to move the point of obligation to ... read more >
October 27, 2017
Congressmen Send Bipartisan Letter On Regulating Agricultural Biotechnology To USDA, FDA, EPA
On October 17, 2017, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), and 77 additional House members sent a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to urge the agencies to work together to promote innovative new technologies aimed at increasing crop yields and reducing the cost of production.  According to Congressman Panetta, the letter was prepared in response to duplicative or inconsistent regulatory proposals regarding biotechnology.  In the ... read more >
October 27, 2017
BIO Requests Reauthorization Of Biobased Assistance Program
On October 19, 2017, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), an Associate member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that it and its member companies sent a letter to the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture requesting the reauthorization of the Farm Bill’s Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Manufacturing Assistance Program (Section 9003).  According to the letter, “[s]everal renewable chemical startups and mature chemical companies are waiting to build their first-of-a-kind manufacturing facilities in the ... read more >
October 27, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Bloomberg Politics, “Trump Tells EPA to Boost Biofuels after Iowa Uproar” International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), “ICAO Conference on Sustainable Alternative Fuels Agrees on New 2050 Vision to Guide Future Development and Deployment” Portland Press Herald, “LePage Invites Bio-Based Businesses to Call Maine Home” Digital Journal, “Florida Aims to Become Regional Alternative Jet Fuels Hub” Triple Pundit, “Over Half a Trillion Soybeans Later, Ford Marks 10-Year Anniversary of Bio-based Foam” Middletown Transcript, ... read more >
October 6, 2017
Senate Committee Holds Hearing On 2018 Farm Bill
On September 28, 2017, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing titled “Rural Development and Energy Programs: Perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill” to gather stakeholder input regarding the programs under the Farm Bill that are working or need improvement.  In his opening statement, Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) stated that it is critical for the next Farm Bill to support renewable energy and biobased product manufacturers, as well as rural businesses, cooperatives, health clinics, schools, and other essential service ... read more >
October 6, 2017
Iowa Senators Respond To EPA NODA Regarding RFS Program
Last week, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Notice of Data Availability (NODA) regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements (see EPA Issues NODA Regarding RFS Program).  On September 27, 2017, Ernst sent a letter to President Trump expressing concern over the proposed reduction in the volume requirements for 2018 and 2019.  In the letter, Ernst highlights the importance of renewable fuel with regard to jobs in rural America, and energy security for the U.S. Additionally, the ... read more >
September 22, 2017
Pruitt Responds To Senators’ Request For Details On Icahn’s Advisory Role
On September 11, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in response to the request by Senator Whitehouse and four other Democratic Senators to explain Carl Icahn’s role in shaping the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  According to Pruitt, Icahn did not exercise excessive influence on the U.S. biofuels policy while acting as an advisor of President Trump.  The letter states that Icahn was one of many advisors that Trump met with during his confirmation and no assurances were made ... read more >
September 15, 2017
NAS Publishes Interim Report On Synthetic Biology
On August 21, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released their interim report titled A Proposed Framework for Identifying Potential Biodefense Vulnerabilities Posed by Synthetic Biology.  The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) asked NAS to develop the framework to: Guide an assessment of the security concerns related to advances in synthetic biology; Assess the level of concern warranted for various advances and identify areas of vulnerability; and Prioritize options to address these vulnerabilities. The report provides an overview of the ... read more >
September 8, 2017
DOC Announced Open REEEAC Meeting
On September 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) published in the Federal Register a notice of an open meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC).  REEEAC will hold a meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on November 16, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  REEEAC provides the Secretary of Commerce with advice from the private sector on the development and administration of programs and policies to expand the export competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency products and services.  The meeting will include REEEAC ... read more >
September 1, 2017
Agencies Request Public Comment On Collection Of Biobased Procurements Data
On August 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued in the Federal Register a notice of request for public comment on an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement regarding Biobased Procurements.  Pursuant to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Clause 52.223-2, Affirmative Procurement of Biobased Products Under Service and Construction Contracts, prime contractors are required to report annually the product types and dollar values of U.S. ... read more >
August 25, 2017
Bill To Repeal Bioenergy Subsidies Introduced In The House Of Representatives
On July 26, 2017, the Farewell to Unnecessary Energy Lifelines Reform Act of 2017 or FUEL Reform Act (H.R. 3419) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ).  The bill would eliminate the following energy subsidies in Title IX of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002: Biobased Markets Program; Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program; Repowering Assistance Program; Biorefinery Program for Advanced Biofuels; Biodiesel Fuel Education Program; Rural Energy for America Program; Biomass ... read more >
August 11, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Bloomberg, “Trump’s EPA to Reject Icahn-Backed Tweak to Biofuel Program” USDA, “Researchers Tap Papaya-Loving Algae to Make ‘Home-Grown’ Biodiesel for Hawaii” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “Materials --Cooking Up Biofuel” Treasure Coast Research Park, “The Sweet Smell of Success…and ... read more >
July 28, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Senator John Hoeven, “Hoeven Announces Nearly $150,000 to NDSU for Research on Biobased Fire Retardants”  ChemCatBio, “ChemCatBio Directed Funding Assistance” Northwestern University, “Tiny Particles Increase in Air with Ethanol-To-Gasoline Switch”  Plastics News, “Start-Up Turns Food Waste into PHA ... read more >
July 14, 2017
Bipartisan Renewable Chemicals Bill Introduced In The House
On June 29, 2017, Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Linda Sánchez (D-CA) introduced the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017 to the House.  If enacted, the legislation would create a targeted, short-term tax credit for the production of qualifying renewable chemicals from biomass and for investments in renewable chemical production facilities.  The tax credit would be provided based on job creation, innovation, environmental benefits, commercial viability, and contribution to U.S. energy independence.  Numerous industry ... read more >
June 30, 2017
NBB Meets With Congress On Biodiesel Tax Incentive
On June 20, 2017, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) announced that nearly 100 biodiesel advocates from across the country visited Capitol Hill to urge Congress to bring back the biodiesel tax incentive as proposed in both chambers of Congress.  Industry participants consisted of biodiesel producers, distributors, and feedstock suppliers from over 24 states.  According to Anne Steckel, the Vice President of Federal Affairs at NBB, the bipartisan biodiesel tax incentive should be reinstated since it helps support tens of thousands of jobs nationwide and the proposed reforms address ... read more >
June 23, 2017
Biofuel Industry Sends Letter On RVP To Senate Environment And Public Works Committee
On June 12, 2017, 28 companies representing the advanced and cellulosic biofuel industry sent a letter to the members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee  requesting their support for the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517), which is scheduled to be marked up in the Environment and Public Works Committee before the August recess.  The letter claims that the Act, which would extend the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent, is vital to the advanced biofuel industry since it would allow E15, a more environmentally-friendly and ... read more >
June 9, 2017
Neste Issues A Statement On The U.S. Withdrawal From The Paris Agreement
On June 2, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), released a statement in response to the decision by President Trump to withdraw the U.S from the Paris Agreement.  According to Neste, the U.S. withdrawal is “unfortunate” and “a saddening turn for the international battle against climate change.”  The decision, however, will not signal the downfall of the Agreement, which has been ratified by 147 of the 197 countries that signed it.  The statement highlights the fact that no changes have been made to the ... read more >
June 2, 2017
Trump Releases Proposed Budget For FY 2018
On May 23, 2017, President Trump released the Administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which includes significant cuts to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) budgets.  According to the proposed budget, funding for DOE would be cut by 5.6 percent to $28 billion, with $636 million allotted for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and $56.6 million for the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).  The proposed DOE budget aims to eliminate the Advanced ... read more >
June 2, 2017
DOC Announces Renewable Energy Advisory Committee Meeting
On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) International Trade Association announced in the Federal Register a public meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC).  The meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2017.  REEEAC is focused on export promotion for the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.  During the meeting, REEEAC will discuss next steps for each sub-committee, consider recommendations for approval, and hear from officials from DOC and other agencies on major issues impacting the ... read more >
May 19, 2017
Senators Send SEC, EPA, Letter On Renewable Fuel Credit Market
On May 9, 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with seven additional Democratic Senators, sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) requesting an investigation into the activities of Carl Icahn for potential insider trading, market manipulation, and other securities and commodities law violations in the renewable fuel credit market.  The letter states that the actions of and the massive profit earned by Icahn raise questions related to conflict-of-interest ... read more >
May 12, 2017
Senate Finance Committee Introduces Clean Energy For America Act
On May 5, 2017, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced to the Senate Finance Committee legislation focused on reducing carbon pollution over the next decade by incentivizing clean energy and promoting new technologies in the private sector.  The Clean Energy for America Act, which was co-sponsored by 21 Democratic Senators, provides a simplified set of long-term, performance-based energy tax incentives to promote clean energy production and storage.  The legislation would create a technology-neutral incentive for the domestic production of renewable transportation fuels based on the ... read more >
May 5, 2017
Bipartisan Bill Introduced To Reform The Biodiesel Tax Credit
On April 26, 2017, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to reform the biodiesel tax credit and extend the new policy for three years.  The American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act of 2017, which was sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and 14 other senators, transfers the $1 gallon tax credit from the blenders to the producers of biofuels to ensure that it incentivizes domestic production.  The bill also provides an additional $0.10 gallon credit for small biodiesel producers in the United States.  According to a ... read more >
April 21, 2017
DOC Initiates Biodiesel Antidumping, Countervailing Investigation
On April 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced that it was formally initiating antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia.  The decision follows a petition filed by the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition, as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post “National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition Files Antidumping, Countervailing Duty Petition.”  The National Biodiesel Board and U.S. biodiesel producers also provided testimony to ... read more >
March 31, 2017
Senators Send Trump Letter On RFS Point Of Obligation
On March 16, 2017, 23 Senators, including Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), sent President Trump a bipartisan letter requesting that he maintain the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  In the letter, the Senators remind Trump that the RFS program was adopted to provide stability for renewable fuel producers and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that, to meet this goal, the point of obligation should be placed on refiners and importers.  Shifting the point of obligation downstream would ... read more >
March 17, 2017
Bipartisan Bill Introduced To Reform RFS Program
On March 2, 2017, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) reintroduced the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act, which aims to guide the debate and reform of the ethanol mandate.  According to Goodlatte, the RFS program failed to lower prices at the pump and resulted in unintended and profound effects on consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, retailers, and the environment.  The RFS Reform Act, which had 42 bipartisan cosponsors, would eliminate corn-based ethanol requirements, place a ten percent cap on the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline, ... read more >
March 17, 2017
Coalition Sends Letter To Trump On Ethanol Policy Changes
On March 7, 2017, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition sent a letter to President Trump requesting the Administration’s support for changes to various federal policies to strengthen biofuels production and expand markets for ethanol and other biofuels.  The letter, which was signed by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, specifically highlights the need for the Trump Administration to change the fuel volatility limitations placed on E15, to update corn ethanol’s lifecycle carbon emissions profile to reflect advances in ethanol production ... read more >
March 9, 2017
Kathleen M. Roberts And Richard E. Engler Present At ABLC2017
On March 2, 2017, Kathleen M. Roberts, Executive Director of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), participated as a panelist alongside four other trade associations in the “Domestic Policy Forum” at the 2017 Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference (ABLC2017).  Ms. Roberts discussed the challenges facing the bioeconomy, including the implementation of the amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), issues with the TSCA nomenclature system, and the potential for increased scrutiny of renewable products under the current Administration, as ... read more >
March 9, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
■  Fuels America, “America’s Biofuel Advocates Reject Effort to Derail Renewable Fuel Standard”   ■   The Hill, “House GOP to Prioritize Ethanol, Pipeline Legislation”   ■ Premier Jay Wetherill, “State Government to Support Legalisation of Industrial Hemp”   ■ Oil Price, “Biofuels May be the Future of the Aviation Industry”   ■ Princeton University, “Schmidt Fund Awards Go to Projects with Transformative ... read more >
March 3, 2017
Senators Send Letter To Pruitt On Volatility Regulations
On February 17, 2017, several Republican Senators sent a letter to Scott Pruitt, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, to confirm their willingness to work with Pruitt to grow the nation’s economy and support American jobs and to request that Pruitt address EPA’s volatility regulation of ethanol fuel blends.  In the letter, the Senators describe the one pound per square inch (psi) waiver that allows gasoline blends containing ten percent ethanol (E10) to be sold during the summer months despite the gasoline volatility requirements in place from June 1 ... read more >
March 3, 2017
Trump Supports Renewable Fuels In Letter To Industry
On February 21, 2017, President Trump sent a letter to the attendees of the National Ethanol Conference to reiterate his commitment to ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The letter states that Trump and his Administration value the importance of renewable fuels to the nation’s energy strategy and economy.  In the letter, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to working with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and others to reform regulations that impede growth, increase consumer costs, and eliminate jobs without providing sufficient environmental or public health ... read more >
February 24, 2017
Senators Send Letter To White House Counsel Regarding Carl Icahn Concerns
On February 13, 2017, seven democratic Senators sent a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn requesting details on Carl Icahn’s role in the Trump Administration and the extent of his influence over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  On December 21, 2016, it was announced that Mr. Icahn would serve the Trump Administration as a special advisor for overhauling federal regulations.  The Senators’ letter highlights concerns over Icahn’s public statements regarding RFS obligations and his role as chairman of the board and majority shareholder of Icahn ... read more >
February 24, 2017
USDA Extends Comment Period On Biobased Product Categories For Federal Procurement
On February 21, 2017, USDA announced in the Federal Register that the comment period for the Designation of Product Categories for Federal Procurement proposed rule had been extended.  The proposed rule aims to amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement to add 12 product categories composed of intermediate ingredient and feedstock materials and to propose a minimum biobased content for each category.  In addition to the product categories and biobased content, USDA is seeking comments on appropriate performance standards for each product category, ... read more >
February 17, 2017
Joint Letter To Trump On China’s Trade Barriers
On February 7, 2017, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the U.S. Grains Council sent a joint letter to President Donald Trump to request the Administration’s assistance in addressing China’s recent implementation of protectionist trade barriers, which are shutting out U.S. exports of ethanol and distillers dried grains.  The letter states that China’s actions have significantly injured U.S. ethanol producers and farmers, and undermined the substantial investments made to develop a cooperative and mutually beneficial trade relationship with the ... read more >
February 10, 2017
Two Congressional Bills Aimed At Reforming The RFS
On January 31, 2017, two bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress that propose to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the national biofuels mandate.  The first bill would require the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to assess the performance, safety, and environmental impact of mid-level ethanol, and the implications of the use of mid-level ethanol blends compared to gasoline blends containing ten percent or less ethanol.  The second bill would reduce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cellulosic biofuel volume requirements under the RFS program to ... read more >
February 10, 2017
CSPA Sends Letter To Trump On Safer Choice Program
On January 24, 2017, the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump to express its commitment to working with Trump and his administration and to outline its top priorities, including the continuation of EPA’s Safer Choice Program.  In the letter, CSPA states that companies have made significant financial and employee investments to develop products that qualify for the Safer Choice logo and to market the products as Safer Choice products.  CSPA requested that Trump support the voluntary program, arguing that elimination of it would ... read more >
January 26, 2017
Lynn L. Bergeson And Charles M. Auer Publish “An Analysis of TSCA Reform Provisions Pertinent to Industrial Biotechnology Stakeholders”
Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), and Charles M. Auer, Senior Regulatory and Policy Advisor with B&C, have published “An Analysis of TSCA Reform Provisions Pertinent to Industrial Biotechnology Stakeholders,” in Industrial Biotechnology. This article discusses how the “New [Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)] fundamentally changes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approach to evaluating and managing industrial chemicals, including genetically engineered microorganisms. The body of changes, the careful ... read more >
January 20, 2017
BRAG® Biofuels Industry Outlook For 2017
The biofuels industry is likely to face increasingly challenging times during the tenures of the new 115 th Congress -- which began on January 3 -- and the Trump Administration, scheduled to begin this Friday, January 20.   Throughout his campaign for President, Trump repeatedly pledged his support for biofuels and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Indeed, it is this support that helped Trump win in key Midwestern battleground states, including Iowa. Despite this, Trump has nominated fossil fuel supporters and anti-biofuels advocates to three key Cabinet positions. His ... read more >
January 20, 2017
Energy Information Administration Issues Short-Term Energy Outlook Report
On January 10, 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) report, which includes forecasts for 2018.  The report outlines expectations for regular gasoline to average a retail price of $2.38 for 2017, with prices for the first quarter of 2017 to average $2.31.  The finalized RFS volumes that were announced on November 23, 2016, resulted in EIA forecasting that ethanol consumption will average about 940,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2017 and 950,000 b/d in 2018.  Based on this level of consumption, the ethanol share ... read more >
January 20, 2017
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
■   Reuters, “Genscape Says It Will Fight EPA Move to Boot It from Biofuels Program”   ■   University of Bath, “Scientists Make Plastic from Christmas Trees”   ■   Washington Examiner, “Energy, Farm Policy Collide in the New Congress”   ■   Growth Energy, “Poll: Trump Voters Overwhelmingly Support Ethanol”   ■ PETROSS, “Dual-Purpose Biofuel Crops Could Extend Production, Increase ... read more >
January 13, 2017
White House Releases Updated Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology
On January 4, 2017, the White House announced the release of the 2017 Update to the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology. The 2017 Update provides a comprehensive summary of the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with respect to regulating biotechnology products. Together with the National Strategy for Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products, published in September 2016, the 2017 Update offers a “complete picture ... read more >
December 28, 2016
Biobased Chemical, Fuel Makers Seek Parity For Their Products Under Trump
Lynn L. Bergeson was quoted in the December 28, 2016, Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report story "Biobased Chemical, Fuel Makers Seek Parity For Their Products Under Trump" (subscription required): Biobased chemical and fuel manufacturers want their products to be treated equally with their fossil fuel-based counterparts under the incoming administration's policies. [...]  Lynn Bergeson, managing partner of the Washington D.C.-based Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., which manages the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG), said Pruitt’s alignment with ... read more >
December 2, 2016
White House Publishes Mid-Century Strategy For Deep Decarbonization
On November 16, 2016, the White House filed the Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Paris climate deal. The strategy highlights the role that U.S. government-funded research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) had on the technological advances of the last century, and the potential to increase the pace and reduce the costs of decarbonization using the full power of U.S. RD&D efforts focused on clean energy technologies.   The strategy states that potentially high impact technologies in early ... read more >
October 28, 2016
Comment Deadline Approaches On Update To The Coordinated Framework For The Regulation Of Biotechnology
As previously reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG®) Biobased and Renewable Products Update of September 22, 2016, Clarifying Current Roles and Responsibilities Described in the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (Update to the Coordinated Framework) was published in the Federal Register .  The Update to the Coordinated Framework provides a comprehensive summary of the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of ... read more >
October 28, 2016
BIO Writes Open Letter To Congress Encouraging Multi-Year Extension Of Biofuel Incentives
On October 18, 2016, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) sent a letter to Congressional Leadership, the Senate Finance Committee Chairs, and the House Ways and Means Committee Chairs calling for the extension of expiring renewable energy tax credits.  The Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit, and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property are set to expire at the end of 2016, with BIO urging congress for multi-year extensions.  ... read more >
October 14, 2016
EPA Announces Public Meeting To Comment On Algae Guidance Documents
On October 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a public meeting on the draft Algae Guidance for the Preparation of [Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)] Biotechnology Submissions (Algae Guidance) in the Federal Register.  This meeting will receive public input and comments on the draft Algae Guidance that describes EPA’s data needs for supporting risk assessments of genetically engineered algae and cyanobacteria that are manufactured, imported, or processed, and are subject to regulations under Section 5 of TSCA.  The meeting will be held in ... read more >
September 30, 2016
Update To The Coordinated Framework For The Regulation Of Biotechnology Published In The Federal Register
On September 22, 2016,  Clarifying Current Roles and Responsibilities Described in the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (Update to the Coordinated Framework) was published in the  Federal Register . This proposed update provides a comprehensive summary of the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with respect to the regulation of biotechnology products. More information about what this means for the future of biotechnology and the ... read more >
September 30, 2016
Bill To Extend Biodiesel Tax Credit Introduced In The House of Representatives
On September 12, 2016, the  Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Incentive Extension Act of 2016  (H.R. 5994) was introduced to the House of Representatives and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill was introduced by Representative Diane Black (R-TN), and would extend the $1 per gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel blenders credit, originally set to expire December 31, 2016, through  December 31, 2018. The blenders tax credit of $1 was created in 2005 for biodiesel or renewable diesel used in qualified mixtures.  The Advanced Biofuels Association ... read more >
September 23, 2016
Biotechnology: White House Releases Proposed Update To The Coordinated Framework And National Strategy For Modernizing The Regulatory System For Biotechnology Products
On September 16, 2016, the White House posted a blog item, "Building on 30 Years of Experience to Prepare for the Future of Biotechnology" and released two documents intended to modernize federal regulation of biotechnology products. In July 2015, the White House directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a long-term strategy to ensure that the system is prepared for the future products of biotechnology, and commission an expert analysis of the future landscape of ... read more >
September 16, 2016
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
■ The Hill, "Energy Groups Push For Renewal Of Tax Credits" ■ Neste, "Neste and Ikea of Sweden Announce Partnership to Deliver Renewable, Bio-Based Plastics" ■ Packaging Europe, "Croda Offers CrodaTherm™ 21 for Temperature Controlled Packaging Applications" ■ The University of New Orleans, "UNO Computer Science Faculty Awarded More Than $500k for Vital Research" ■ Airforce Technology, "US Air Force to Produce Biofuels for US DoD ... read more >
July 22, 2016
What Does The Loss Of “Green Chemistry” Provision From Amended TSCA Mean For Biochemicals?
On July 15, 2016, Environmental Leader published "What Does the Loss of 'Green Chemistry' Provision from Amended TSCA Mean for Biochemicals?," featuring comments by Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®). Ms. Bergeson expanded on a previous blog post titled "Inside EPA Reports On Loss Of Green Chemistry Provision From TSCA Reform," stating: "While regrettable, the absence of the green chemistry provisions in the amended Toxic Substances Control Act ... read more >
July 15, 2016
Senate Passes GMO Bill Creating A National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard With Federal Preemption And Exclusion Information
On July 7, 2016, the Senate passed a bill, An Act to Reauthorize and Amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, and for Other Purposes (S. 764), through agreement to the House's amendment to S. 764, with further amendment. While the bill is being referred to as a genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling bill, there is no actual requirement to print GMO ingredients on labels. Instead, companies would be required to print information on the packaging (through text, a symbol such as a QR code, or an electronic link) directing consumers to a website or phone line for more ... read more >
July 8, 2016
Inside EPA Reports On Loss Of Green Chemistry Provision From TSCA Reform
On July 1, 2016, Inside EPA published "Committee Jurisdiction Issues Blocked Green Chemistry From TSCA Reform," an article discussing the passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law and the lack of language from previous versions boosting federal support of green chemistry. The majority of the bill was reviewed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but the green chemistry provision would have needed to be reviewed by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, further complicating the fragile House and Senate negotiations. Inside EPA's source stated: ... read more >
July 1, 2016
Bill Increasing Biogas Technologies Eligible For Energy Tax Credit Introduced To The House
On June 15, 2016, H.R. 5489, Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act of 2016, was introduced to the House Ways and Means Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The bill would add additional biogas applications to the list of technologies that qualify for the federal Section 45 energy investment tax credit, increasing acceptable biogas technologies from only biogas-based electricity projects to "qualified biogas property" defined as: property comprising a system which--   (i) uses anaerobic digesters, or other biological, chemical, thermal, or mechanical processes ... read more >
June 24, 2016
President Obama Signs Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety For The 21st Century Act Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg) during a signing ceremony. Lautenberg represents years of negotiation and is a towering achievement to enhance the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to review industrial and consumer chemicals and provide the public with confidence that chemical products do not pose unreasonable risks. Of particular interest to biobased chemical manufacturers and users, Lautenberg requires that EPA maintain the use of Class 2 nomenclature and the Soap and ... read more >
April 15, 2016
Six Biofuel Trade Associations Write Congress To Extend Advanced Biofuel Tax Credits
On April 5, 2016, the biofuel trade associations Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Algae Biomass Organization, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, and Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to House and Senate Leaders asking for a multiyear extension of advanced biofuel tax credits. The six organizations are specifically asking that the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit, the Alternative Fuel and ... read more >
March 4, 2016
More Information Available On Upcoming "Modernizing The Regulatory System For Biotechnology Products" Meetings
On February 1, 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the dates and locations for the final two public engagement sessions covering the July 2, 2015 memorandum "Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products." The memorandum, issued under the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and jointly by (OSTP), the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Council on Environmental Quality, directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. ... read more >
February 26, 2016
Federal Activities Report On The Bioeconomy Release Announced At ABLC2016
On February 18, 2016, at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference 2016 (ABLC2016), Dr. Catherine Woteki, Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced the release of the Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy. The report was created to share current federal agency activities that help to develop and support the bioeconomy. The report first introduces the importance of fostering the bioeconomy and the purpose of the Biomass Research & Development Board. From there the report covers all ... read more >
June 12, 2015
Sustainable Chemistry Research And Development Act Of 2015 Introduced To Senate
On May 21, 2015, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2015 (S. 1447). The legislation is intended to help coordinate and expand the many different programs that have been enacted across the federal government to promote and assist the development of sustainable chemistry that reduces risks to human health and benefits the environment. The bill would create a federal Interagency Work Group (IWG), lead by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that would work with a ... read more >
June 12, 2015
House Committee Holds Markup Hearing On TSCA Modernization Act Of 2015
On June 2 and 3, 2015, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a markup hearing for the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) after years of progress on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Reform. The bill was praised for its bipartisan support as well as the removal of burdensome testing that has hindered the implementation of TSCA. The modernized TSCA will change how EPA regulates existing chemicals, with EPA first deciding if a chemical poses an unreasonable risk under its conditions of use, and then deciding how to manage the risk. A technical amendment was added to the Act ... read more >
June 12, 2015
EPA And ACS GCI To Announce 2015 Winners Of The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge
B&C has no involvement in or knowledge of the award selection process. This year's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge winners will be announced at the 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony, July 13, 2015, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge, administered through a partnership between EPA and the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI), promotes the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry, and has significantly reduced ... read more >
March 27, 2015
Legislation Introduced In Senate To Phase Out RFS
On March 18, 2015, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced S. 791, "The American Energy Renaissance Act of 2015." Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) introduced companion legislation, H.R. 1487. The legislation would phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), approve the Keystone XL pipeline, open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration, and stop EPA from regulating GHG emissions. Under the bill, the RFS would start to be phased out in 2016 with a 20 percent reduction in the volumetric requirements proposed by EPA. The 20 percent reductions would continue each year ... read more >
March 13, 2015
New Bipartisan TSCA Legislation Introduced In Senate
On March 10, 2015, Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a bipartisan bill that would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The bill has 15 co-sponsors -- seven Democrats and eight Republicans. The bill builds on the proposed Chemical Safety Improvement Act offered by Senator Vitter and the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in 2013. According to the overview provided on Senator Udall's webpage, the 2015 bill clarifies that cost cannot be a consideration factor in determining chemical safety, ... read more >
March 6, 2015
RFS Hearing And Legislation
On February 25, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and the Economy held a joint hearing on "The Fiscal Year 2016 EPA Budget." During the hearing, both supporters and opponents of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) criticized U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy on the Agency's implementation of the program. RFS supporters pointed out that EPA's delay in issuing the 2014 RFS rule in final has compromised the stability of the RFS. RFS opponents argued that the RFS ... read more >
February 26, 2015
Economic Report Of The President Covers Current State Of The Energy Economy
On February 19, 2015, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released the 2015 Economic Report of the President. The report includes a chapter on The Energy Revolution: Economic Benefits and the Foundation for a Low-Carbon Energy Future, which reviews the future of energy in the United States. The Obama Administration has long been committed to the environment and has used subsidies and mandates to move the Climate Action Plan (CAP) forward and increase the use of solar, wind, ethanol, biodiesel, and other renewable energy sources. The Economic Report of the President notes ... read more >
February 26, 2015
Congressional Briefing On Renewable Chemicals Tax Credit
On February 25, 2014, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) hosted a briefing for legislators and their staff regarding the need for tax credits for U.S. producers of renewable or biobased chemicals. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) urged attendees to pass the Qualifying Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit Act, which had been previously introduced in past Congresses but was not enacted. Attendees at the briefing also considered other programs impacting renewable chemicals, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) BioPreferred federal procurement program and the U.S. ... read more >
February 6, 2015
RFS Reform Act
A bipartisan House coalition introduced the RFS Reform Act on February 4, 2015. The coalition, consisting of Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), and Peter Welch (D-VT), failed to achieve passage of a similar bill in 2013. Representative Goodlatte has been vocal on his opposition to the RFS and ethanol ... read more >
January 15, 2015
Senator Boxer Announces She Will Not Seek Reelection
 On January 8, 2015, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Committee announced via YouTube that she will not seek reelection in 2016. The decision was widely rumored given the balance in her reelection campaign fund.  Boxer had been viewed as a major obstacle in moving Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform legislation through the EPW Committee, having publicly stated strong opposition to the preemption provisions in revised TSCA legislative drafts.  Boxer’s concern is unsurprising given California’s existing state ... read more >
December 11, 2014
House Of Representatives Extends Bioenergy Tax Credits For 2014
 On December 1, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, more commonly referred to as the tax extender bill.  This bill extends through 2014 the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, as well as the biofuel production tax credit for cellulosic and algae-based biofuels and the special allowance for second generation biofuel plant property.  While the Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance is reportedly still working to pass a tax extender bill that would extend these expiring incentives beyond 2014, especially given ... read more >
November 14, 2014
Impact Of 2014 Elections On Key Congressional Committees
With Republicans recapturing the Senate majority, GOP lawmakers now take the helm of several Senate committees of interest. For the most part, those Republican Senators who were ranking members now move into the chair roles. Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee: Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) will take over the EPW reins from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). His committee will have the primary role in amending the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Senator Inhofe was lauded by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for his assistance in working with stakeholders on TSCA reform. In ... read more >
August 15, 2014
Group Of Senators Weigh In On Biogenic Carbon Regulations
On August 7, 2014, a group of nine Democratic Senators led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) sent a letter to the EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, on the treatment of biogenic carbon emissions from stationary sources. The other eight Senators who signed the letter are: Tim Johnson (D-SD); Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); Ron Wyden (D-OR); Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Al Franken (D-MN); Patty Murray (D-WA); Joe Donnelly (D-IN); and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The letter comes at a time when EPA is working to issue in final a rulemaking providing guidelines for such treatment. In their letter, the Senators caution ... read more >
June 21, 2014
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Stabenow Holds Hearing And "Showcase" To Focus On Biobased Manufacturing
On June 17, 2014, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on "Grow it Here, Make it Here: Creating Jobs through Bio-Based Manufacturing." The hearing was designed to examine the role that biobased products are playing in helping to revitalize and re-energize American manufacturing, and how that activity is helping to grow the economy and create jobs. This has been an ongoing focus by Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) whose home State of Michigan has many biobased manufacturing businesses. A copy of Stabenow's press release on the ... read more >
May 23, 2014
Senate Fails To Pass Measure Enabling It To Consider Important Biofuels Tax Extenders
On May 15, 2014, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a procedural measure that would have allowed for that body to consider and vote on S. 2260, the "Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act," the package of tax extenders approved by the Senate Finance Committee in April. The EXPIRE Act includes extensions through December 31, 2015 (and retroactive to January 1, 2014), of the following key biofuels incentives that have expired: the Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit; the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit; the Special Depreciation Allowance ... read more >
May 23, 2014
House Agriculture Appropriations Bill Would Make Significant Cuts To Mandatory Funding For Farm Bill
On May 20, 2014, the House Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee) and the Senate Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee) marked up and passed their separate versions of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 spending bill for USDA. A copy of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee's draft bill is available online. ... read more >
March 14, 2014
House Energy And Commerce Subcommittee Holds Hearing On Draft House TSCA Reform Bill
On March 12, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Environment and the Economy Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the Discussion Draft of the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA). CICA, which was released last week by Subcommittee Chair John Shimkus (R-IL), is designed to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Biobased and Renewable Products and Advocacy Group (BRAG™) reported on the release of CICA. That report is available online. Eleven witnesses testified at the hearing. Several witnesses were critical of CICA, stating that it offered less protections than those ... read more >
March 14, 2014
Senate Democrats Lead Charge Against Climate Change
Nearly 30 Democratic Senators participated in an all-night session from the evening of March 10, 2014, through the morning on March 11, 2014, to highlight the need for action to combat the harmful effects of climate change. This session was the first major act of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, which was formed earlier this year by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to urge action on the issue. The all-night session was organized by Senator Brian Schatz ... read more >
February 28, 2014
Senators Expected To Urge Action On Climate Change
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are leading a new Senate Task Force on Climate Change designed to combat stated plans by some in the Republican leadership to weaken President Obama's expected upcoming Executive actions to address climate change. While legislative action on climate change remains unlikely this year, Members of the Senate Task Force are doing what they can to highlight the issue. To this end, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) is organizing an all-night Senate floor session during which the issue of climate change will be discussed. The session is ... read more >
February 14, 2014
House TSCA Reform Bill Expected Soon
It is reported that House Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on the Environment and Economy Chair John Shimkus (R-IL) is working on draft legislation to reform TSCA, which Shimkus expects to introduce and on which he expects to hold a hearing in the coming weeks. B&C has issued a memorandum providing an overview of the Subcommittee's fifth hearing on TSCA reform held on February 4, 2014. The memorandum is available online. There is a renewed sense of urgency for TSCA reform to be completed this year in the wake of the chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia last ... read more >
February 14, 2014
Changes On The Senate Energy And Environment Panels
Following the confirmation of Senator Max Baucus as the next Ambassador to China, on February 11, 2014, Senate Democrats voted to shift the leadership and make-up of impacted Committees. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will now be the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, while Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) will take over as Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Newly elected Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) will now serve on the Senate EPW Committee. Senator Landrieu is reportedly working to identify her priorities for the Senate Energy Committee. She is known to be a supporter ... read more >
February 7, 2014
House Energy And Commerce Subcommittee Holds Fifth Hearing On TSCA Reform
On February 4, 2014, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held its fifth hearing this term on potential reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). The Subcommittee is working on drafting its version of a TSCA reform bill. This latest hearing focused on potential reforms to Sections 4 and 8 of the law. TSCA Section 4 covers when and under what circumstances the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may require chemical substances to be tested, and TSCA Section 8 authorizes EPA to keep an inventory of potentially ... read more >
February 7, 2014
Senate EPW Subcommittee Holds Hearing On West Virginia Spill
On February 4, 2014, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works' Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife held a hearing on "Examination of the Safety and Security of Drinking Water Supplies Following the Central West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis." A full list of witnesses is available online. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) spoke at the hearing and stressed the need for reform of TSCA in the wake of the January 9, 2014, chemical spill in West Virginia. Senator Udall has been working closely with Senator David Vitter (R-LA) to make improvements to CSIA (S. 1009), the ... read more >
January 10, 2014
Senate Finance Chair Nominated To Be Next Ambassador To China
On December 18, 2013, President Obama announced that he will nominate Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) to be the next Ambassador to China. The nomination is expected to pass quickly and without much opposition. Senator Baucus serves as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, the tax writing Committee. When he leaves the Senate, current Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) is expected to assume the chairmanship. These moves will impact the fate of incentives for the biofuels and renewable chemicals and products industries, including whether and when the ... read more >
December 23, 2013
House Energy And Commerce Subcommittee Chair Cites TSCA Reform Among Top Priorities For 2014
It has been reported that the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power Chair John Shimkus (R-IL) has listed reform of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) among his top priorities for 2014. Chair Shimkus has stated publicly that the House is still determining how best to draft and move TSCA reform legislation, but he expects a House TSCA reform bill to be introduced by the spring, with action on it likely next summer. Chair Shimkus reportedly has also indicated that he expects no action on the Renewable Fuel Standard ... read more >
December 6, 2013
Progress On Farm Bill Negotiations
Reportedly, the four principals leading the effort to merge the House and Senate versions of the next five-year Farm Bill into a final bill have reached a preliminary agreement on the two major sticking points: food stamps and crop subsidies. The leaders are working feverishly to reach agreement and pass the final version of the Farm Bill by the end of this year when the current Farm Bill expires. Previous Biobased and Renewable Advocacy Group (BRAG™) coverage of the Farm Bill debate and negotiations is available ... read more >
November 15, 2013
Renewable Chemical Stakeholders Learn Of Opportunities And Challenges They Face With TSC
Attendees at the Society for the Commercial Development of Industrial Biotechnology's (SCD-iBIO) 2nd Annual "Commercializing Global Green" forum in Philadelphia this week participated in a practical, in-depth three-hour workshop presented by the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) on the critical policy, legislative, and regulatory issues impacting the commercialization of renewable chemicals. Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) and Of Counsel with BRAG, shared the latest developments from Capitol Hill on ... read more >
November 1, 2013
Getting to Yes: A Focused Workshop Addressing Key Policy, Legislative, and Regulatory Issues in Commercializing Biobased Products
2:30-5:30 p.m., November 11, 2013, at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Center in Philadelphia, PA Innovation is great, but commercializing innovations is even better. BRAG's Washington, D.C.-based team of government affairs experts, scientists, lawyers, and public policy managers will present a workshop to identify and discuss critical policy, legislative, and regulatory issues impacting the commercialization of renewable chemicals. Attendees will engage in focused discussions on current regulatory issues impacting the market, as well as a robust dialogue on expectations for the ... read more >
November 1, 2013
Farm Bill Conference Begins
On October 30, 2013, the Conference Committee selected to merge the House and Senate versions of the next five-year Farm Bill met to begin formal negotiations. This Farm Bill Conference Committee is comprised of 41 bi-partisan Members of the U.S. House and Senate. Though Farm Bill Conference Committee negotiations are expected to be difficult, pressure is on Members of Congress to pass a final version of the next five-year bill by the end of this year. If it fails to do so, farm policy will be governed by an outdated supply-side permanent law from 1949. In that situation, milk prices ... read more >
November 1, 2013
Groups Press TSCA Reform
On October 29, 2013, hundreds of parents and children participated in a "stroller brigade" on Capitol Hill during which they lobbied Senate offices to provide greater protections against harmful chemicals during reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The stroller brigade also joined actress Jennifer Beals at a press conference on TSCA reform sponsored by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition. Following the July 31, 2013, Senate Environment and Public Works hearing on TSCA reform, Committee Members reportedly continue negotiations on S. 1009, the ... read more >
October 18, 2013
Farm Bill Negotiations Move Forward
Leaders of the House of Representatives have named 29 Representatives to the conference committee that will work to consolidate the House and Senate versions of the next five-year Farm Bill into a final piece of legislation that will be passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama. While House and Senate leaders assert their commitment to settling on and passing a final version of the next Farm Bill, getting to agreement will likely be difficult. One of the most contentious disagreements remains over how much to cut from nutrition programs, which have ... read more >
October 11, 2013
Key Administration Official On Energy And Climate Change Steps Down
On Monday, October 7, 2013, the White House announced that Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to President Obama for Energy and Climate Change, will be leaving her post in the coming weeks. Zichal has been advising the President on these issues for the past five years and is considered a friend to the biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biobased products industries. For instance, she has been a strong proponent of maintaining the federal RFS and encouraging investment in biofuels. This year, Zichal helped lead the effort to roll out the President's comprehensive Climate Action Plan to ... read more >
October 4, 2013
Shutdown Delays Important Regulatory And Legislative Work Affecting Industry
The U.S. government is shut down until the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approve the same version of legislation to fund it and the President then signs it into law. House Republicans have been trying to tie funding the government with defunding certain parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which went into effect on October 1. The Senate has rejected every funding bill sent to it by the House because each has contained provisions to marginalize the ACA. The Senate has also rejected a piecemeal approach to funding the government. This has created a very high stakes game of ping ... read more >
October 4, 2013
Efforts On The RFS Continued In Face Of Shutdown
All legislative and regulatory efforts on the federal RFS are at a standstill until the government re-opens. RFS legislative and regulatory efforts, however, were strong in the days before the government shutdown. Last week, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging EPA to deny the joint petition by the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers requesting EPA grant a partial waiver of the 2014 RVOs under the RFS. Petitioners had argued that waiving the RVOs for 2014 to 9.7 percent of the ... read more >
September 27, 2013
EPA Funding
If the Continuing Resolution (CR) currently funding the government is allowed to expire on September 30, it could prove devastating to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Unlike other federal agencies, EPA cannot claim exceptions for many of its employees. In the event the CR expires, as EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asserted in public remarks this week, EPA "would effectively shut down." It would only have skeletal staff and would surely impact Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) work, among others. This fear about current EPA ... read more >
September 19, 2013
House Task Force Considers RFS Reform Proposals
The group of four Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee tasked with examining proposals to reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are reportedly still considering options for reform and compromise. This week, one of the members of the task force, Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), stated publicly that there may be avenues for compromise under the RFS' Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credit trading program. Other members of the task force include Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Steve Scalise (R-LA). The Biobased and ... read more >
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