Biobased and Renewable Products News: USDA

November 1, 2019
USDA And DOE Under Secretaries Sign MOU To Promote Energy Technology Development
USDA Deputy Under Secretary Donald LaVoy and DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes announced on October 24, 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two departments to promote rural energy and the development of technologies to support and advance rural and agricultural communities and domestic manufacturing. Required under Section 6501 of the 2018 Farm Bill, the MOU is meant to improve collaboration and coordination between DOE and USDA. A number of areas are covered by the MOU, including: Streamlining, leveraging, and optimizing program ... read more >
October 18, 2019
USDA Solicits Applications For Funds Under The Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, And Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program
On October 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS) announced via the Federal Register the solicitation of applications for funds under the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (the Program). Under the Program, USDA provides guaranteed loans to fund the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial scale biorefineries using eligible technology. The loans are also used to fund the development of biobased product manufacturing facilities that use technologically new ... read more >
July 12, 2019
USDA To Amend Guidelines For Designating Biobased Products For Federal Procurement
On July 5, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management published a final rule that will amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement (Guidelines) to add 30 sections designating the product categories within which biobased products would be afforded procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors. These 30 product categories contain finished products that are made, in large part, from intermediate ingredients that have been designated for federal procurement preference. Additionally, USDA is ... read more >
July 12, 2019
U.S. Senator John Kennedy Submits Letter To USDA Secretary On SRE
On June 27, 2019, U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) submitted a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue asking him to stop threatening energy jobs in Louisiana. In his letter to Secretary Purdue, Senator Kennedy outlines concerns related to Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) issued by EPA under the RFS program. Of particular concern to Senator Kennedy are reports that Secretary Purdue continues to attempt to influence EPA decisions on small refinery waivers, despite clear measures in the Clean Air Act that prohibit him to do so. Senator Kennedy states that Secretary Purdue’s “efforts in ... read more >
July 12, 2019
U.S. Senators Express Concerns About RFS Program To President Trump
On June 28, 2019, 13 U.S. Senators signed a letter to President Donald J. Trump expressing concerns about media reports that USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue is attempting to influence EPA decisions on small refinery waivers under RFS. Similar to the letter submitted to Purdue himself by Senator Kennedy, the 13 Senators express opposition to Secretary Purdue’s involvement in the SRE waivers decision-making process. Also referencing the Clean Air Act and its statutory requirements, the letter urges President Trump to prohibit Secretary Purdue from influencing or interfering with decisions ... read more >
June 14, 2019
APHIS Proposes Revised Regulatory Framework Regarding The Movement Of Certain Genetically Engineered
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a proposed rule on June 6, 2019, on the movement of certain genetically engineered (GE) organisms.  84 Fed. Reg. 26514.  The proposed rule would revise the regulations regarding the movement, including the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain GE organisms in response to advances in genetic engineering and APHIS’ understanding of the plant pest risk posed by them, “thereby reducing regulatory burden for developers of organisms that ... read more >
May 10, 2019
APHIS Announces Launch Of eFile This June
On May 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) announced the pilot launch of its new online permitting system: APHIS eFile. Launching on July 23, 2019, APHIS will be inviting, at the end of May, those who have been issued a BRS permit or notification in the past two years to apply for the pilot program. The plan is for BRS to transition fully to APHIS eFile in November 2019 to allow applicants who join the pilot to learn the system. The pilot will be a way for APHIS BRS to ... read more >
April 19, 2019
USDA APHIS Reopens Public Comment Period On The dEIS And PRA
On April 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the reopening of the public review and comment period for the draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) and the preliminary Pest Risk Assessment (PRA). These two documents have been prepared in response to a permit application from a company requesting the environmental release of genetically engineered (GE) Citrus tristeza virus (CTV). The reopening of comments is the result of a new research paper released after the initial comment period back in the summer of ... read more >
April 5, 2019
USDA APHIS Requests Public Comments On dEA And dPPRA Draft Documents
On April 3, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a request for comments on two documents related to the potential deregulation of a canola variety genetically engineered (GE) to convert oleic acid to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaeonic acid (EPA), as well as for resistance to an imidazolinone herbicide. The documents are a draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) and a draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment (dPPRA). While the dEA analyzes potential issues and environmental impacts, the dPPRA examines any plant ... read more >
March 22, 2019
DOE Biomass R&D Committee To Hold Open Meetings
On March 18, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee.   84 Fed. Reg. 9769.  The meeting will take place in Arlington, Virginia, on March 27 - 28, 2019, and will include discussions on developing advice and guidance promoting R&D leading to the production of biobased fuels and products.  The tentative agenda includes updates not only on DOE Biomass R&D activities, but also on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biomass R&D activities.  Presentations ... read more >
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