Biobased and Renewable Products News: Capitol Hill

November 9, 2018
Call For Candidate Chemicals For Equivalency Determinations
Is your company engaged in Class 2 chemistries that are similar to existing Class 2 chemicals but are derived from an innovative bio-source? We are looking for pioneering companies working on new biobased Class 2 chemicals to assist in advancing an important project with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   ISSUE:  While EPA sustainability goals would seemingly include adoption of improved biobased technologies, EPA’s policies under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) mean that many novel, sustainable technologies are considered “new chemicals” ... read more >
November 9, 2018
FDA Submits A Collection Of Information Proposal To OMB
On November 5, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a proposed collection of information on the Biosimilars User Fee Program was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. FDA’s Biosimilars User Fee Program was established under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act), which amended the Public Health Service Act through the addition of Section 351(k). The BPCI Act also amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to include Section 351(k) under ... read more >
November 2, 2018
FDA Releases Statement On A New Plant And Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan
On October 30, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a statement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and FDA Deputy Commissioner Anna Abram regarding FDA’s new action plan to advance plant and animal biotechnology innovation.  Aimed at ensuring the safety of plant and animal biotechnology products and avoiding unnecessary barriers to future innovation, the Action Plan focuses on three key priorities: Advancing public health by promoting innovation; Strengthening public outreach and communication; and Increasing engagement with domestic and ... read more >
October 26, 2018
Trump Administration Releases Its Fall 2018 Agenda
On October 16, 2018, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released the Trump Administration’s Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Agenda). The Agenda aims to report on actions that administrative agencies, such as EPA, plan to put forward in the near- and long-terms. As its name implies, the Agenda includes both regulatory and deregulatory actions and attempts to justify any burden associated with these actions. According to its announcement, it should reflect four broad regulatory reform priorities: advancing regulatory reform, public notice of ... read more >
October 19, 2018
Presidential Determination:  Alane Fuel Cells
On October 11, 2018, President Trump issued a Presidential Determination that the development and purchase of equipment and materials needed for alane fuel cells are essential to the national defense.  Alane fuel cells are, essentially, comprised of aluminum hydride and are possible alternatives to hydrogen fuel cells.  According to manufacturers, the only byproducts are water and aluminum, the latter of which can be recycled.   Issuing the determination under Section 303 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, the President stated that “United States industry cannot ... read more >
October 19, 2018
Democrats Express Concern Over RFS Waivers
On October 15, 2018, U.S. Representatives Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Danny Davis (D-IL) submitted a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing concern over President Trump’s issuance of waivers to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Particularly worried about EPA’s recent actions to waive RFS blending requirements, the letter, signed by 19 members of Congress, urges EPA “to halt the issuance of additional RFS waivers and to reallocate waived gallons in the 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations.” According to the letter, the issuance of these waivers ... read more >
October 12, 2018
Trump Talks Biofuels; BIO Applauds
On October 9, 2018, during a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he will order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expand its sales of corn ethanol. This action, which farmers across the U.S. have been waiting for, will allow for year-round sales of 15 percent biofuels (E15) ethanol blends. Currently, E15 sales are restricted during the summer months in certain states, limiting the expansion of the market space for biofuels. Well received by many in the industry, the announcement was particularly appreciated by the Biotechnology Innovation ... read more >
September 28, 2018
House Passes Pandemic And All-Hazards Preparedness And Advancing Innovation Act of 2018
On September 25, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed without objection the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness And Advancing Innovation Act of 2018. Introduced on July 16, 2018, by Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN), this Act reauthorizes certain programs under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, and amends the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Amongst these reauthorized programs are the federal biodefense programs and agencies which include the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, as well as ... read more >
September 14, 2018
Restoring The Commitment To Renewable Fuels
By Lynn L. Bergeson On September 7, 2018, U.S. Congressman David Young (R-IA) introduced, in a bipartisan effort with U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), the Restoring Our Commitment to Renewable Fuels Act. Under this bill, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be required “[t]o provide for reallocation of the renewable fuel obligation of exempted small refineries under section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545(o)) to other refineries, blenders, distributors, and importers, and for other purposes.”  As a response to EPA’s 2019 Renewable ... read more >
August 31, 2018
Bipartisan Group Of U.S. Senators Fight For Increased Renewable Volume Obligation
On August 23, 2018, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and 37 others submitted a bipartisan letter, asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as proposed by EPA in June 2018. Under the aforementioned proposed RFS, EPA would raise the advanced biofuel volume for 2019 to 4.88 billion gallons and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2020 to 2.43 billion gallons. The bipartisan group argues that although these increases may be promising, the potential of biodiesel is still taken too ... read more >
August 17, 2018
Trump Administration Lifts Ban On Biotechnology Crops In Wildlife Refuges
On August 2, 2018, the Trump Administration’s Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gregory J. Sheehan, reversed an Obama era 2014 policy on the use of biotechnology on wildlife refuges. On July 17, 2014, the Obama Administration issued a memorandum prohibiting the use of genetically modified biotechnology crops to feed wildlife and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in agricultural practices. This ban was issued in response to lawsuits that claimed the use of toxic pesticides and genetically engineered crops violated environmental laws. The 2014 memorandum ... read more >
August 10, 2018
Bipartisan Carbon Utilization Act Promotes Biogas, CCUS Technology
On July 19, 2018, the bipartisan Carbon Utilization Act was introduced by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and David Young (R-IA) to promote biogas and carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technologies. Biogas is produced by converting organic waste material into CO2, methane, and other carbon products that then are captured by CCUS technologies to use as energy or fuel. The newly introduced bill incentivizes the use of innovative technologies for farmers, biotech businesses, research programs, and rural development ... read more >
July 25, 2018
BRAG Requests that EPA Adopt TSCA Inventory Representation and Equivalency For Renewable and Sustainable Biobased Chemicals
Washington D.C.:  Representatives of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and representatives of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff to discuss the two groups’ recently-issued white paper, “Proposal for a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Representation and Equivalency Determinations for Renewable and Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals.”  BRAG and BIO members provided a presentation for EPA staff that outlined the regulatory challenges and market impedance ... read more >
July 6, 2018
Senate Passes Farm Bill With Mandatory Energy Title Program Funding
On June 28, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed S.3042 -- Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) with a vote of 86-11. This bill includes mandatory funding for Energy Title programs, including the Biomass Research and Development Initiative; the Biobased Markets Program; the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Product Manufacturing Assistance Program; the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels; the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP); and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). In addition to securing funding for a range of bioenergy programs, the legislation also expands the types ... read more >
June 15, 2018
BRAG Engages With EPA On Critical Nomenclature Issues
On June 13, 2018, representatives of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and representatives of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff to discuss the two groups’ white paper, “Proposal for a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Representation and Equivalency Determinations for Renewable and Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals.”  BRAG and BIO members provided a presentation for EPA staff that outlined the regulatory challenges and market impendence facing the biobased ... read more >
June 1, 2018
Bipartisan Support Keeps Energy Title Programs In Farm Bill
On May 17, 2018, a proposed amendment to repeal the Farm Bill’s energy title programs was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 75-340. These title programs provide grants and loan guarantees to rural lenders and businesses, as well as research and development support for renewable energy products. While these programs account for less than one percent of the total amount that the federal government spends on agriculture and nutrition programs, they provide a strong return on investment and provide vital access to capital for rural businesses. Lloyd Ritter, Director ... read more >
May 4, 2018
18 Senators Request EPA To Provide Timeline On RVP/E15 Rulemaking
On April 30, 2018, 18 pro-ethanol Senators sent a bi-partisan letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting a “transparent timeline … on the regulatory pathway forward to address the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) issue,” “an expected timeline of the rulemaking process to clarify how the agency will make this change to allow higher ethanol blends access to the marketplace” and “immediate clarity to allow higher ethanol blends to be sold in the interim while the outdated regulation is being changed” as related ... read more >
April 27, 2018
House Agriculture Committee Unveils Its Draft Farm Bill 2018
On April 12, 2018, House Agriculture Committee Chair Michael Conaway (R-TX) released the Committee’s draft Farm Bill reauthorization, the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (H.R. 2).  The 600-plus page draft legislation includes a number of provisions that will be of interest to Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) members and the biofuel industry, including the following sections: Sec. 6402. Biobased markets program.  Section 6402 amends section 9002(i) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 by authorizing ... read more >
April 13, 2018
Algae Agriculture Act Of 2018 Introduced To The House Of Representatives
Representative Scott Peters (D-CA) recently introduced the Algae Agriculture Act of 2018 (H.R. 5373) to the House of Representatives. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Darin LaHood (R-IL), would provide similar advantages to algae cultivators and harvesters as those that exist for traditional crop farmers under U.S. agricultural policy. These advantages include: updating the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture to include algae, which will provide funding for additional research into ways to ... read more >
March 16, 2018
RFS Reform Bills Introduced In Congress
On March 8, 2018, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced companion legislation (S. 2519, H.R. 5212) in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible (GREENER) Fuels Act aims to: Phase out the corn ethanol mandate and immediately reduce the amount of ethanol in fuel by as much as one billion gallons by capping the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 9.7 percent; Help farmers ... read more >
March 16, 2018
Industry Coalition Sends Letter On Farm Bill To Congressional Agricultural Committee
On March 6, 2018, a coalition of over 200 companies and trade associations sent a letter to the Agricultural Committee leaders in the House and Senate urging the reauthorization of and stable mandatory funding for the energy title programs in the next Farm Bill reauthorization.  The letter states that the Farm Bill energy title programs have greatly assisted rural America in developing clean, renewable energy, biobased products, and making energy efficiency investments for more than 15 years with an incredibly modest, cost-effective investment.  The less than one tenth of one ... read more >
February 16, 2018
Congress Approves U.S. Blender’s Credit For 2017
As explained in the notice issued by Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), with President Trump’s signing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892), the blenders tax credit was extended retroactively for 2017.  Qualified biofuel blenders are eligible for a tax credit of $1.00 per gallon of biodiesel or renewable diesel used in the blending process in 2017.  The blenders tax credit was one of several biofuel-related tax incentives that were extended retroactively.  The incentives, which also include tax credits for ... read more >
February 2, 2018
ITA Announces Open REEEAC Meeting
On January 26, 2018, the International Trade Administration (ITA) published in the Federal Register a notice of an open meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC).  The meeting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on May 10, 2018, in Washington, D.C and will be the seventh and final in-person meeting of the current charter.  The meeting will include REEEAC subcommittee working sessions, a discussion on next steps for each subcommittee, consideration of recommendations for approval, and an update from the Department of Commerce ... read more >
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 >
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