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April 27, 2017

Advocates Argue for Higher Advanced-Biofuel Volumes Before the D.C. Court of Appeals

Monday, the National Biodiesel Board argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014-16. The NBB challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s  interpretation and use of its waiver authority under the RFS statute.

steckel“Today’s case provides a strong opportunity to defend higher advanced-biofuel volumes. Clear market signals from more robust EPA requirements will encourage continued growth in America’s advanced biofuel—biodiesel,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.

Various groups are seeking to force changes to the fuel volumes required for compliance years 2014-16 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2017. Several cases were consolidated into the one considered today. The NBB supported EPA on the cellulosic and biomass-based diesel volume arguments by pointing to D.C. Circuit Court precedent that affirms EPA’s authority and lack of harm to obligated parties. While joining various ethanol groups on arguments related to EPA’s general waiver authority, the NBB also raised numerous arguments related to EPA’s advanced-biofuel volumes.

Historically, EPA has not deviated from the advanced-biofuel volumes required by the RFS statute, even if the agency lowered other kinds of fuels’ volumes (such as cellulosic). For the first time, EPA reduced the volumes required for advanced biofuel for 2014-16. This set the advanced-biofuels industry back, because U.S. biodiesel responds to increased demand with increased production. The NBB argues that EPA exceeded its authority and failed to move the advanced-biofuel program forward as Congress envisioned.

Congress sought to increase production and stimulate investment—not simply follow the market and maintain the status quo. Reducing the required volumes based on demand-side considerations undermines continued investment and the innovation that has successfully diversified feedstocks, increased efficiencies and lowered costs.

“There is room for more aggressive growth; the U.S. biodiesel industry can do more. We hope that the court will be persuaded by our arguments and that EPA will put in place more aggressive advanced-biofuel requirements moving forward,” said Steckel. “We look forward to working with the Trump administration to realize the potential to support additional jobs and investment in rural economies.”

The RFS—a bipartisan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush—requires increasing volumes of renewable fuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel stream. The law is divided into two broad categories: conventional biofuels, which must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent, and advanced biofuels, which must have a 50 percent reduction. Biodiesel is the first advanced biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide and has made up the vast majority of advanced biofuel production under the RFS to date.

Made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement used in existing diesel engines. According to the EPA, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared with petroleum diesel, qualifying it as an advanced biofuel under the RFS.

NBB also has a trade case pending before the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission on biodiesel imports. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.

NBB News Release

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U.S. Milk Producers Praise Trump’s Trade Comments on Canadian Policy

nmpfThe National Milk Producers Federation was pleased to hear President Trump speak out about Canada’s dairy policy during a stop in the state of Wisconsin on Tuesday.

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF, released the following statement:

“We thank President Donald Trump for speaking out in Wisconsin against the harmful pricing policy Canada implemented in an effort to stifle competition with the United States. We have repeatedly stressed that trade must be fair and that all countries should be held accountable when they break the rules. Canada’s repeated disregard for its dairy trade commitments to the United States has left American dairy farmers enduring the severe and unfair consequences.

“America’s dairy farmers will continue to work with the Trump Administration, Speaker Paul Ryan and other congressional leaders, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as well as elected officials across the country to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

Listen to the President’s comments in Kenosha —->  Trump on Dairy Trade

Meanwhile, as discussions over immigration policy continue on Capitol Hill, the National Milk Producers Federation is thanking members of both the House and Senate for working to address the unique labor challenges faced by dairy producers.

Mulhern said, “Dairy farming is a physically demanding, 24-7, 365-day job. Without the help of foreign labor, many American dairy operations face the threat of closure. We appreciate that members of both parties are building awareness of the need for action on this challenge.”

Two bills introduced recently would modify the existing H-2A agricultural visa program to make it easier for dairy farmers to hire the foreign labor they need to run their operations. Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Chris Collins (R-NY) co-authored the Farm Family Relief Act in January. Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-WI) introduced the Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round (DAIRY) Act this month.

Separately, during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to confirm the next USDA Secretary, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) questioned nominee Sonny Perdue about finding a solution to the industry’s immigration concerns. Perdue said he supports an exemption to the H-2A program so that dairy farms can hire workers year-round.

NMPF has called on legislators to address this dilemma for more than a decade.

 

NMPF News Releases

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USMEF Audio Report: U.S. Beef Showcased in Baltic Region

Although U.S. beef is available in hotels, restaurants and retail outlets across much of the Baltic region, pricing and stiff competition make it a challenging market for U.S. exporters. To help meet these challenges, the U.S. Meat Export Federation continues to showcase the quality of U.S. beef and demonstrate to importers new ideas for utilizing both premium and alternative cuts.

One example of USMEF’s work are U.S. beef master classes being conducted by Cheyenne McEndaffer, USMEF technical services manager, and Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in the region.

Ralph Loos, Director of Communications for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, shared this report with farm broadcasters.  —>  Cheyenne McEndaffer on U.S. Beef Classes in Baltic

The classes, held in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, are designed to engage importers and highlight the attributes that set U.S. beef apart from competitors’ products.

USMEF News

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