Biobased and Renewable Products News: USDA

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 >
March 22, 2019
APHIS BRS Announces Delayed Launch Of Updated Permitting System
On March 19, 2019, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) announced the delay of the spring release for BRS’ updated permitting system in APHIS eFile.  The release is now expected to occur in mid-summer 2019, with periodic updates provided by APHIS BRS as the anticipated release approaches.  In its announcement, APHIS BRS highlighted its commitment to bringing a permitting system that takes advantage of USDA’s current capabilities and brings new features previously not ... read more >
March 15, 2019
USDA Comment Request:  Draft Documents Related To GE Soybean Deregulation
On, March 12, 2019, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the publication of two draft documents related to the potential deregulation of a soybean variety GE for increased yield and resistance to the herbicide glufosinate.  The draft documents are Draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA) and Draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) for Petition to Deregulate GE Soybean for Increased Yield and Herbicide Resistance. The PPRA will examine any plant pest risks and the dEA will analyze the potential issues and environmental impacts.  The draft documents ... read more >
January 4, 2019
USDA Releases Final Rule On GM Labeling
On December 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service announced a final rule on the National Bioengineered (BE) Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS).  The rule, which will be effective on February 19, 2019, and implemented on January 1, 2020, established the new mandatory NBFDS addressing genetically modified (GM) labeling. Food manufacturers, importers, and other entities that label foods for retail will be obligated to disclose information about BE food and BE food ingredients. An extended implementation date has been set for small food ... read more >
November 30, 2018
USDA Awards Two DOE National Laboratories
On November 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), in New Mexico, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), in California, received the Excellence in BioPreferred Procurement Awards for Fiscal Year 2018. Both LANL and LLNL are U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories and have been awarded for the testing and adoption of biobased products within their operations. The awards reflect the laboratories’ achievements in advancing the objectives of USDA’s BioPreferred Federal Purchasing ... read more >
October 5, 2018
U.S. Government Funds Project On Biofuel Development
In late September 2018, Northwestern University announced a new bioengineering project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under their joint program called the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). Led by Michael Jewett, professor of chemical and biological engineering, the project aims to combine innovative bioengineering and biotechnology to develop biofuels and bioproducts. It is expected that through the capture of syngas from industrial manufacture companies, before they are released into the atmosphere, biofuel ... read more >
September 21, 2018
USDA Proposal: “Guidelines For Designating Biobased Products For Federal Procurement”
On September 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management announced a proposal to amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement. Under this amendment, 30 sections will be added to determine categories within which biobased products “would be afforded procurement preference by Federal agencies and their contractors.” These categories include products that are made from intermediate ingredients that were formerly proposed for designation for federal procurement preference. In its proposed ... read more >
August 24, 2018
Genetically Engineered Food Labels: Center For Food Safety Files Suit
On August 1, 2018, the Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for its delay in the establishment of a national mandatory bioengineered (BE) food disclosure standard. In its lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that AMS’ failure to implement a final rule is “inimical to the democratic process” and damaging to the public and stakeholders. On May 4, 2018, USDA announced a request for comments on the proposed new rule under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 on the establishment of a national ... read more >
August 17, 2018
USDA Announces Solicitation For Applications For BAP Funds
On August 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service publicized two application cycles for applications for funds available under the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (BAP). The loans under the aforementioned program are designed to encourage the proliferation of biobased practices that use “technologically new commercial scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products, on a commercial ... read more >
July 13, 2018
USDA Amends Guidelines For Designating Biobased Products
On July 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management announced it was amending the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement to add 12 sections that designate product categories within which biobased products will be afforded federal procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors via a final rule.  83 Fed. Reg. 31841.  The Federal Register publication states that this final rule “designates the proposed product categories within which biobased products will be afforded ... 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 29, 2018
APHIS Seeks Public Comments On Draft EA And PPRA Regarding Petition To Deregulate A Canola Variety Genetically Engineered To Convert Oleic Acid To DHA
On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it was seeking public comment on a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and a preliminary Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA) prepared in response to a petition from Nuseed Americas Inc. (Nuseed) to deregulate a canola variety genetically engineered to convert oleic acid to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  83 Fed. Reg. 29742.  APHIS will thoroughly review and consider all public input submitted during the comment period, and use the information as it works to ... read more >
June 15, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Plastics Insight, “IKEA, Neste Collaborates for First Large-scale Production of Renewable, Bio-based Polypropylene Plastic” Markets Insider, “Kreussler Inc. Earns USDA Certified Biobased Product Label” CISION PRWeb, “John Kaweske Announces Bio Clean Energy Wins $36 Million Biodiesel Supply Contract Bolivia Government Oil ... read more >
June 8, 2018
P&G Announces Release Of BioPreferred Downy Nature Blends
On June 4, 2018, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) announced the launch of Downy’s first plant-based line of fabric conditioner. In addition to powering the manufacturing process completely with renewable wind powered electricity at a zero-manufacturing waste to landfill facility, the product formula includes 70 percent biobased ingredients and the bottles are made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled content.  The 70 percent claim has been certified through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred program, which provides third-party verification of a ... read more >
May 25, 2018
USDA AMS To Make Available Informational Webinar On NBFDS
On May 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that a pre-recorded informational webinar regarding the proposed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) will be made available beginning on June 1, 2018.  83 Fed. Reg. 23827.  The Federal Register notice states that the pre-recorded webinar “will provide an overview of the background, provisions, and potential impacts of the proposed standard,” and the proposed standard “would require food manufacturers and other entities that label ... read more >
May 18, 2018
Draft Environmental Impact Statement And Preliminary Pest Risk Assessment For GE Citrus Tristeza Virus Permit Now Available
On May 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the availability of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public review and comment. This document evaluates the possible environmental impacts from a potential approval of a permit to release a genetically engineered (GE) Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) through Florida.  This GE plant virus would be used as a biological control agent to help manage Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, which can devastate the citrus industry. This notice is ... read more >
May 18, 2018
USDA BioPreferred Program Awards Biobased Product Label To Tremco’s POWERply® Endure™ BIO Adhesive
On May 9, 2018, Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance announced that its POWERply® Endure™ BIO Adhesive had earned the Certified Biobased Product label from the USDA BioPreferred Program. Tremco’s adhesive is made of 71 percent biobased material with ultra-low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that meet California VOC limits. Four other Tremco Roofing products have the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label, including AlphaGuard™ BIO Base Coat, AlphaGuard BIO Top Coat, Rock-It® WB, and Low Rise Foam Insulation Adhesive Green. The USDA BioPreferred ... read more >
May 11, 2018
Jacor, LLC, EcoBioClean® Products Receive USDA BioPreferred Certification
On May 3, 2018, Jacor, LLC announced that five of its EcoBioClean® products earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product label: EcoBioClean® 100 COSW with 95% biobased content; EcoBioClean® Pipes/Tanks 103 CE with 95% biobased content; EcoBioClean® Fresh Water 101 COFW with 95% biobased content; EcoBioClean® Land 102 COL with 95% biobased content; and EcoBioClean® Biological Waste 105 BW with 95% biobased content. These products provide contamination cleanup solutions for crude oil spills and leaks, as well as lubricants, ... read more >
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