Biobased and Renewable Products News: Regulation & Policy

January 22, 2015
Proposed Amendment To The Keystone Bill Would Remove Corn Ethanol from RFS
On January 16, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) proposed an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill to eliminate corn ethanol from the RFS called the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.”  Senator Feinstein stated that the “bill is a simple and smart modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Once we remove the corn ethanol mandate, the RFS program can finally serve its intended purpose: to support the development of advanced, environmentally friendly biofuels like biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels.” ... read more >
January 15, 2015
California Governor Proposes Big Increases In Renewable Fuel Use
 During his Inaugural Address on January 5, 2015, California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. discussed the future of California’s commitment to renewable energy.  Already on track to meet the 2020 goal of at least one-third of electricity coming from renewable sources, the Governor proposed increasing the threshold to 50 percent of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030.  Governor Brown also proposed that in the next 15 years, California would reduce the use of petroleum in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent and double the efficiency of existing buildings while ... read more >
January 15, 2015
Oregon Clean Fuels Program Moving Forward
On January 7, 2015, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission voted to approve rules to advance the next phase of the State’s Clean Fuels Program. As the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) explains on its website, the program “seeks to cut greenhouse gases by lowering the carbon content in Oregon transportation fuels.” The program is currently scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2015, although the Oregon state legislature could remove the sunset by that date. The rules approved on January 7, 2015, will take effect on February 1, 2015, and will do the following, ... read more >
December 18, 2014
National Defense Authorization Act For 2015 Moves Forward In Senate
On December 12, 2014, the Senate passed a House amendment to the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA FY15).  The final version of the NDAA FY15 places restrictions on how the military is able to acquire biofuels by prohibiting funding from being used for bulk purchase of drop-in biofuels where the fully burdened cost of the biofuels is not cost competitive with the fully burdened cost of available traditional fuels.  The bill defines a fully burdened cost as “the commodity price of the fuel plus the total cost of ... read more >
December 18, 2014
Senate Passes Tax Extender Legislation
On December 16, 2014, the Senate followed the House of Representatives and passed tax extender legislation that is expected to be signed by the President.  The final package that passed would retroactively extend incentives that expired on December 31, 2013, through the end of 2014.  It does not extend the incentives through the end of 2015, as Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and other leaders would have liked.  The final tax extender package includes important incentives for the biofuels industry, including the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, as well ... read more >
November 7, 2014
Agencies Request Public Comment On Collection Of Biobased Procurement Product Types And Value Data
In the October 30, 2014, Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued a notice of request for public comments regarding an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement regarding Biobased Procurements. The original notice was published in the Federal Register on August 20, 2014, and no comments were received. Comments are now due on December 1, 2014. As summarized by the notice, the "Federal Acquisition Regulation clause 52.223-2, ... read more >
November 7, 2014
Article Explores TSCA Application To Synthetic Biology
The October 2014 issue of Industrial Biotechnology features the article Creative Adaptation: Enhancing Oversight of Synthetic Biology Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), written by Lynn L. Bergeson, Of Counsel with the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), Charles M. Auer, former Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), and Oscar Hernandez, former Director of the Risk Assessment Division (RAD) of EPA OPPT. Synthetic Biology is delivering on its promise as an emerging scientific ... read more >
October 31, 2014
USDA Proposes Amended Guidelines For Biobased Products For Federal Procurement
On October 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed to amend the regulations for the Voluntary Labeling Program for Biobased Products under USDA's BioPreferred Program. As explained in the Federal Register notice, the proposed amendments are needed to address certain legislative requirements in the 2014 Farm Bill that cannot be implemented without further guidance. Specifically, the proposed amendments allow for USDA promotion of biobased products regardless of date of entry into the marketplace, which overrides previous provisions that excluded mature market ... read more >
October 31, 2014
President Obama Announces $300 Million Investment In Emerging Manufacturing Technologies
On October 27, 2014, President Obama announced new plans to strengthen the manufacturing sector. One of the listed plans involved the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) coming together to invest in advanced materials, advanced sensors, and digital manufacturing. These three areas were determined to be critical to U.S. competitiveness and include biobased materials in the advanced materials category. Over $300 million is going to be invested across the three categories and the research investments by the federal ... read more >
October 27, 2014
BRAG® Petitions EPA for Biodiesel Products CDR Exemptions Already Granted to Petroleum Products
On October 21, 2014, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) submitted petitions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting that biodiesel fuel manufacturers be granted the same Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) exemptions that petroleum-based diesel manufacturers already receive. BRAG made its petitions through two mechanisms allowed under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rules. BRAG's petitioning of EPA was reported in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report story "Biobased Diesel Companies Petition EPA For Rules Comparable To Traditional ... read more >
October 24, 2014
BRAG Petitions EPA for Biodiesel Products Exemptions Already Granted to Petroleum Products
On October 21, 2014, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) submitted two petitions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting that biodiesel fuel manufacturers be granted the same Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) exemptions that petroleum-based diesel manufacturers already receive. The Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report covered the petitions in an October 22, 2014, feature story that stated "[t]he Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) filed the petitions in an attempt to be exempted through either of two mechanisms allowed under ... read more >
October 24, 2014
DOE Announces Funding For Landscape Design For Sustainable Bioenergy Systems
The Bioenergy Technologies Office within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), "Landscape Design for Sustainable Bioenergy Systems." DOE is looking for interdisciplinary projects that integrate landscape design approaches with cellulosic feedstock production within existing agricultural and forestry systems. Projects must maintain, or preferably enhance, environmental and socio-economic sustainability. The FOA includes funding up to $14 million. This funding will help take the next steps for previous DOE-funded projects ... read more >
October 24, 2014
Green Chemistry Market Roundtable And Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
October 16, 2014, was a banner day for green chemistry in the nation's capital with the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge awards ceremony, and the Green Chemistry Market Roundtable preceding it. The roundtable included representatives from industry, including the 2014 award winners; EPA and other federal agency officials; and others involved with green chemistry and biobased chemicals and products. BRAG Executive Director, Kathleen Roberts, and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.'s (B&C®) Lynn Bergeson were invited guests and participated in the roundtable discussion on ... read more >
October 24, 2014
Iowa Economic Development Agency To Push For Incentives For Renewable Chemicals And Products
During the next state legislative session, which begins in January, Iowa's Economic Development Agency will reportedly seek approximately $20 million in new incentives for companies that use chemicals derived from ethanol production to produce biobased products. The Agency reportedly believes sufficient incentives exist to promote biofuel development in Iowa. This new incentive would be needed to help further the biobased economy in the State. More information on this effort is available in The Des Moines Register news story "Biochem Tax Credit Pitched By Economic ... read more >
October 3, 2014
Bridge To A Clean Energy Future Act Of 2014 Introduced In The U.S. House Of Representatives
On September 19, 2014, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA) introduced the Bridge to a Clean Energy Future Act of 2014 (H.R. 5559), which was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill would extend clean energy tax incentives, including those benefiting the biofuel and bioenergy industries. Among the tax credits being extended are the second generation biofuel producer credit, the $1.00 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel, and the Section 45 renewable energy production tax credit. More information is available ... read more >
September 19, 2014
EPA's Revised Work Plan List And New Developments In TSCA Reform Discussed At Green Chemistry Clearinghouse Annual Conference
The Green Chemistry Clearinghouse Conference held on September 16, 2014, in San Francisco included several interesting panels discussing topics including California Safer Consumer Products Regulations' (SCPR) recently released Work Plan, the future of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform, and the increasing push by retailers to require information from the supply chain. Jim Jones, EPA's Assistant Administrator at the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), spoke regarding several EPA activities under TSCA, including but not limited to the schedule for ... read more >
September 19, 2014
California DTSC Releases Draft Initial Priority Product Work Plan
On September 12, 2014, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its much anticipated draft Initial Priority Product Work Plan under SCPR. The Regulations require that DTSC, by October 2014, develop an Initial Priority Product Work Plan that describes product categories it will use to evaluate and identify product-chemical combinations to be added to the Priority Products. The Work Plan is available online and more detailed memoranda from BRAG affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) about the Regulations and the Work Plan are available ... read more >
September 19, 2014
California's Release Of Draft Initial Priority Product Work Plan Drives Agenda Of 5th Safer Consumer Products Summit, October 22-24, 2014, San Francisco, California
With the draft initial Priority Product Work Plan now released, it is important for manufacturers, importers, and retailers of consumer products in the categories listed by DTSC in the Work Plan to understand and address any issues. The upcoming Safer Consumer Products Summit, of which BRAG is a proud sponsor, will bring together DTSC staff, brand owners, chemical companies, and industry associations to discuss these developments in sessions including: * "Strategies and Tactics in Response to Initial Priority Products and Work Plan for Future Priority Products" * ... read more >
August 1, 2014
Energy And Commerce Chair Working On RFS Reform
Reportedly, U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) plans to introduce a bill to modify the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The bill is expected to be introduced soon after EPA releases its final rule setting the final 2014 RFS volume requirements for obligated parties under the law. Just this week the Administration has made public statements to suggest that the final 2014 rule will increase volume requirements from the proposed version published last fall. Generally, the oil and gas industry supports reducing annual RFS volume requirements, while biofuels ... read more >
July 18, 2014
USDA Awards Funds To Promote Development Of Rural Wood-To-Energy Projects—15 States To Benefit
On July 15, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grant awards to support the development of wood energy projects. According to the press release, the federal funds will leverage more than $4.5 million in investments from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) partners. Under the terms of the agreements, private, state, and federal organizations will work together to stimulate the development of additional wood energy projects in their states. Activities may include workshops that provide technical, financial, and environmental information, preliminary engineering assessments, ... read more >
July 11, 2014
Department Of Energy Makes Available $4 Billion In Loan Guarantees For Renewable Energy
On July 3, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is making an additional $4 billion available in loan guarantees for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. Part one of the solicitation is due October 1, 2014. Copies of the solicitation and fact sheet about the solicitation are available online. According to DOE's press release on the announcement, "the Department has identified five key technology areas of interest: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in ... read more >
July 7, 2014
Supreme Court Denies Review Of The California LCFS
On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not review the constitutionality of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). This decision is largely viewed as a win for the California Air Resources Board, the governmental body that regulates the LCFS, and supporters of the law. On March 20, 2014, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which represent the ethanol industry, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), along with the American Trucking Association and the Consumer Energy Alliance, filed petitions for writ of ... read more >
June 6, 2014
New Reports Released On Synthetic Biology
On May 28, 2014, policy researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), the University of Virginia, and EMBO released a report on challenges faced by regulators with the increased use of more sophisticated synthetic biology technologies to engineer plants and microbes. According to the press release on the report, "[t]he authors conclude that while the United States governmental agencies tasked with oversight of products derived through synthetic biology have adequate legal jurisdiction to address most, but not all, environmental, health and safety concerns, several key issues ... read more >
May 30, 2014
USDA Signals Action On BioPreferred Program In Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda
On Friday, May 23, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its semi-annual regulatory agenda (Agenda) indicating its intended actions and priorities for the remainder of the year. A copy of USDA's Agenda is available online. According to the Agenda, USDA intends to issue its final rule addressing how its BioPreferred® Program will designate complex products and intermediate materials and feedstocks in July 2014. USDA published its proposed rule on this matter in the Federal Register on May 1, 2012, and accepted public comment until July 2, 2012. A copy of the ... read more >
May 30, 2014
House And Senate Pass FY 2015 NDAA Legislation With Conflicting Biofuels Provisions
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services passed versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 that included starkly different provisions on biofuels. The House version would severely limit U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) authority to promote the procurement of biofuels. For instance, it included a provision that would allow DOD to procure biofuels only if their costs were "equivalent to" conventional fuels. In addition, it included provisions preventing DOD from supporting the planning and ... 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 >
May 23, 2014
Iowa Governor Signs Law Extending And Enhancing Biofuels Incentives
On May 21, 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) signed into law Senate Bill 2344, legislation to help promote the biofuels industry in the State. A copy of the legislation is available online. It extends the biodiesel production tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of 2014, enhances Iowa's E-15 retailer tax credit, and adds biobutanol as a renewable fuel option. This law reinforces Iowa's ongoing support for the biofuels ... read more >
May 23, 2014
Segetis Receives Minnesota NextGen Energy Grant
On May 19, 2014, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that it has awarded Segetis, Inc., a green chemistry company based in the State, a $325,000 NextGen Energy Grant. The grant will be used for equipment, capital construction, and materials for operation of a pilot plant for process development required to commercialize their biobased non-phthalate plasticizer. A copy of the MDA press release on the grant awards is available ... read more >
May 16, 2014
RFS Advocacy Continues As Final 2014 Rule Expected Soon
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) advocacy is continuing at a steady pace in anticipation of the expected imminent release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2014 final RFS rule. Some biofuels advocates believe that they are making an impact with their stepped-up advocacy, as they believe the Administration will adjust the total renewable and advanced biofuel targets upwards from its proposed reductions to those categories of renewable fuels. The final rule is expected to be issued in June 2014. On May 8, 2014, nine members of the pro-biofuels Fuels America coalition ... read more >
May 16, 2014
B&C
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) and BRAG presented an informative session on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) World Congress in Philadelphia. The session, "Commercializing Renewable Chemicals and Biobased Products: The Importance of Successfully and Efficiently Navigating the Regulatory Process" brought together high-level EPA staff and industry leaders to inform, equip, and assist the renewable chemical community in finding the path of least resistance on the road to commercialization. Speakers included David Widawsky, ... read more >
May 16, 2014
EPA’s Jim Jones And DTSC’s Dr. Meredith Williams Share Insights At Safer Consumer Products Summit
The 4th Annual Safer Consumer Products Summit was held May 6-8, 2014, in Santa Clara, California, and with the first draft Priority Products (PP) having been announced by California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in March 2014, the regulators, manufacturers, brand owners, and retailers gathered for the Summit were able to engage in substantive and practical discussion and learn from case studies on California's implementation of the Safer Consumer Products Regulations (SCPR), the most expansive Green Chemistry law in the world. B&C was the Platinum sponsor of ... read more >
May 9, 2014
Appeals Court Rules For EPA In Challenge To Its 2013 RFS Rule
On May 6, 2014, in what is largely seen as a win for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the biofuels industry, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the challenge to EPA's final 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule by Monroe Energy, LLC (Monroe Energy), a refinery and subsidiary of Delta Airlines. In Monroe Energy, LLC v. EPA, the court held that EPA properly utilized its authority under the federal RFS to set the 2013 RFS volume requirements. The court disagreed with Monroe Energy that EPA did not sufficiently consider factors in ... read more >
May 9, 2014
Staff Changes at DTSC, Presentation on Safer Consumer Products Regulations at Conference
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that Director Debbie Raphael will be leaving her position on May 30, 2014, to lead San Francisco's Department of the Environment. Raphael's replacement has not yet been announced. In Raphael's place, Dr. Meredith Williams, DTSC Deputy Director, gave the keynote address at the 4th Safer Consumer Products Summit in Santa Clara, California, sponsored by B&C. Dr. Williams discussed DTSC's decision-making process with regard to its three selections in its draft initial Priority Product list (Paint and ... read more >
May 2, 2014
House Energy And Commerce Subcommittee Holds Hearing On Revised Chemicals In Commerce Act
On April 29, 2014, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing on the revised version of the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA2). Details of the hearing provided by the Subcommittee, including its background memorandum, are available online. Subcommittee Chair John Shimkus (R-IL) issued the original version of CICA in March 2014. CICA2 was released on April 22, 2014. Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.'s (B&C®) detailed summary and analysis of CICA2 is available online. B&C also issued a detailed summary and ... read more >
May 2, 2014
ACS Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, June 17-19, 2014, North Bethesda, Maryland
BRAG will present "Regulatory Landscape & Implications for Innovation," Thursday, June 19, 2014, at the 18th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference hosted by the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute. Speakers and topics include: Lynn L. Bergeson B&C "Moving California towards flame retardant-free furniture and baby products" Emily Tipaldo American Chemistry Council "State chemical management initiatives: Green chemistry? Or, something else?" Sookie Hong 3E Company Department of Regulatory ... read more >
April 25, 2014
Not Too Soon To Be Thinking Of 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Submissions
EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry. These prestigious annual awards recognize chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use. Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) member Elevance Renewable Sciences was a Presidential Green Chemistry Award Winner in 2012. While applications for 2014 are due on April 30, 2014, it is not too soon to begin thinking and preparing for a 2015 submission. EPA's ... read more >
April 25, 2014
Industry And Policymakers To Hold Summit On California SCPR
With the March 2013 release of its first draft list of Priority Products (PP) (more information is available in the Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) memorandum), the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has opened the floodgates for scrutiny, controversy, and debate on their game-changing Safer Consumer Products Regulations (SCPR). EPA's Jim Jones, DTSC's Meredith Williams, industry leaders, and policy experts will gather at the 4th Safer Consumer Products Summit in Santa Clara, California, on May 6-8, 2014, to drill down on the rapidly evolving state ... read more >
April 11, 2014
House Ways And Means Hearing On Tax Extenders
On April 8, 2014, House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) held a hearing on the "Benefits of Permanent Tax Policy for America's Job Creators." The hearing focused on the expiring business tax provisions that are made permanent or extended under Camp's recently released discussion draft of the "Tax Reform Act of 2014" (TRA). Unlike his Senate counterpart -- Senate Committee on Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) -- Camp is not very supportive of passing a tax extender package to extend retroactively the approximately 50 incentives that expired at the ... read more >
April 11, 2014
Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing On Advanced Biofuels
On April 8, 2014, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry held a hearing on "Advanced Biofuels: Creating Jobs and Lower Prices at the Pump." The following witnesses testified at the hearing: Mr. Richard Childress, CEO, Richard Childress Racing, LLC; Mr. Jan Koninckx, Global Business Director for Biorefineries, DuPont Industrial Biosciences; Mr. Brooke Coleman, Executive Director, Advanced Ethanol Council; Dr. Sumesh Arora, Vice President, Innovate Mississippi, Director of Strategic Biomass Solutions; and, Ms. Nancy Young, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, ... read more >
April 4, 2014
Senate EPW Committee Marks Up Chemical Safety Bill
On April 3, 2014, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW Committee) marked up S.1961, the "Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act." Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the EPW Committee, and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the bill following the January 9, 2014, chemical spill in West Virginia that left thousands without drinking water for days. The bill would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) by adding "Part G -- Protection of Surface Water from Contamination by Chemical Storage Facilities." The bill is ... read more >
March 28, 2014
Industry Urges Review Of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard
On March 20, 2014, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which represent the ethanol industry, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), along with the American Trucking Association and the Consumer Energy Alliance, filed petitions for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to make a final determination on the constitutionality of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The groups are challenging the January 2014 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the Ninth Circuit) to deny rehearing en banc in Rocky ... read more >
March 21, 2014
EPA Moves Forward On TSCA Rulemaking Related To Fracking Chemicals
On March 13, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a pre-rule notice to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on "Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Mixtures." This action shows that EPA is moving forward on a rulemaking under TSCA Sections 8(a) and 8(d) to obtain data on chemical substances and mixtures used in hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a process used in oil and gas production. EPA explained in the Fall 2013 Unified Agenda that although the Agency "has granted the petitioners' request to initiate a rulemaking ... read more >
March 21, 2014
OCSPP Develops A Vision Plan
On March 12, 2014, Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), shared with his colleagues a vision plan that was developed to guide OCSPP's work over the next several years. The document, entitled Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Envisioning Accomplishments in 2017, outlines several actions that will be taken by OCSPP regarding pesticide registration, existing chemicals, the EDSP, creating a whole new Design for the Environment (DfE), and employing green solutions. Actions that will be taken in implementing ... read more >
March 21, 2014
New Minnesota Legislation Would Provide Incentives For Renewable Chemicals
On March 17, 2014, the Minnesota House of Representatives adopted the report of the Committee on Agriculture Policy as amended on H.F. No. 2456. The report has been re-referred to the Minnesota House of Representatives Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance. H.F. 2456 would create renewable chemical and advanced biofuel capital equipment loans for qualifying Minnesota renewable chemical and advanced biofuels producers. A copy of the report as amended is available ... read more >
March 14, 2014
California Announces Draft Priority Products List
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced on March 13, 2014, the first draft Priority Products (PP) under the Safer Consumer Products Regulations (SCPR). The three draft PPs are Children's Foam-padded Sleeping Products Containing Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) Phosphate (TDCPP); Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Systems Containing Unreacted Diisocyanates; and Paint and Varnish Strippers and Surface Cleaners Containing Methylene Chloride. The Initial PP List will include consumer products sold in California that each contains at least one chemical from a list of ... read more >
March 14, 2014
West Virginia Passes Chemical Safety Bill
On March 8, 2014, the West Virginia legislature passed S.B. 373, a bill to improve the safety and regulation of above ground storage tanks in the state. The bill resulted from the spill on January 9, 2014, of 7,500 gallons of a coal processing chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, stored in an above-ground tank into the Elk River just upstream from the local water utility's intake pipe serving Charleston, West Virginia. Regulators banned residents' use of the water for five days. After the release, concerns were expressed in West Virginia, in other states, and at the federal level ... read more >
March 14, 2014
South Dakota Increases Use Of E15
On March 6, 2014, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) announced that the state will begin incorporating E15 fuel into its state fleet during a test period over the next six months. Currently, E10 is available and used in the state's flex-fuel and other vehicles, but the Governor wants to encourage the greater use of ethanol in his state. Ethanol is a $3.8 billion industry in South Dakota. Greater use of E15 is one potential solution to the E10 ethanol "blend wall." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed reducing the 2014 renewable volume obligations for ... read more >
March 7, 2014
President Obama Releases FY 2015 Budget Proposal
On March 4, 2014, President Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 Budget request, which includes aggressive proposed funding to carry out the Administration's Climate Action Plan designed to reduce harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the impacts of climate change. The President's FY 2015 Budget includes funding for several programs and initiatives to help facilitate the continued development and production of biofuels and biobased products. Consistent with the newly enacted Farm Bill, the Budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) includes increased funding for ... read more >
February 14, 2014
House Transportation And Infrastructure Committee Field Hearing On Elk River Spill
On February 10, 2014, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure convened a field hearing in Charleston, West Virginia, on "The Charleston, West Virginia Chemical Spill." On January 9, 2014, a coal processing chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), stored in an aboveground tank owned by Freedom Industries leaked into the Elk River in West Virginia. The leak compromised the water supply to nine counties in the state affecting some 300,000 residents. Due to a lack of toxicological data on MCHM, health officials were delayed in identifying a safe use level ... read more >
February 7, 2014
President Obama Expected To Sign New Farm Bill Into Law This Week
President Obama is expected to sign H.R. 2642, the Agriculture Act of 2014 (the new five-year Farm Bill), into law on Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. He is scheduled to speak there about the importance of the legislation. The Farm Bill is critically significant to the biofuels and renewable chemicals and products industries because the new Farm Bill continues and expands on the majority of the energy programs covered under the 2008 Farm Bill and provides $881 million in mandatory funding to carry them out. For instance, the new Farm Bill continues the ... read more >
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