January 19, 2018

National Biodiesel Conference to Celebrate 25 Years of Growth

Producers, marketers and aficionados are preparing to return to Fort Worth this month when the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo opens at the convention center for four days of all things biodiesel.

 This year’s conference will also serve as a celebration for the conference sponsor when the National Biodiesel Board is honored for 25 years of service providing research and representation for the industry in Washington, DC, and across the country.

 “Every conference we’ve sponsored has been an exciting event for our industry,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagan. “But this one is obviously going to be special as we take the opportunity to not only recognize the milestones we’ve passed over the last two-and-half decades, we’ll also look forward to meeting the challenges ahead as the industry continues to grow and plays an even greater role in America’s ever more critical energy sector.”

 And the conference isn’t just for industry insiders. The public is invited Tuesday to join in the discussions focused on biodiesel technology, public policy and more. They will also have the opportunity to explore the event’s Conference Central, where they can learn all about how biodiesel is made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats. A Texas driver’s license is required for local residents to attend free of charge. Wednesday, the public is invited back to participate in a “ride-and-drive” with vehicles provided by area dealers and equipped with the latest diesel engines.

 Other highlights for attendees include a session with the filmmakers who premiered “Hot Grease” at the prestigious DOC NYC film festival before its debut on the Discovery Channel last November. The feature length documentary tells the story of biodiesel’s rise and the industry fight for survival in the face of numerous public policy challenges. The producers spent countless hours documenting the experiences of biodiesel entrepreneurs in Texas, while advocates in Washington, D.C., come together to fight off a barrage of attacks from opponents more interested in protecting the status quo.

 The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo take places January 22 – 25 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. To learn more about the conference, including a full schedule of events and information on how to register, visit http://www.biodieselconference.org/.

 

National Biodiesel Board Welcomes Longtime Grassley Aide to Lead DC Office

The National Biodiesel Board is pleased to announce that Kurt Kovarik, a senior adviser and legislative director of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has accepted the position of Vice President of Federal Affairs. Kovarik will join NBB the week of January 8.

“Kurt’s decades of experience in the United States Senate will serve us well as we navigate the federal policy issues that most affect our industry. His long history of working on energy and tax legislation, his familiarity with the key players in Washington and his knowledge base on biofuels are all reasons why we are so happy to have him on our team,” said Donnell Rehagen, chief executive officer at the National Biodiesel Board. “Growing up on a farm in Iowa, Kurt understands the strong connections between the biofuels, agriculture and livestock sectors, as well as the importance of continuing to establish America’s energy independence.”

“Biodiesel has the potential for more—more jobs, more economic growth, more diversity in our fuel supply. But market certainty signaled by consistent federal policy is essential for meeting that potential. It’s been an honor to have spent the last several months in the Nation’s Capital working alongside our members to secure more consistent federal policy signals. I look forward to continuing to work in DC over the coming months to ensure Kurt has a smooth transition into this critical role for our industry,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

Kovarik has served as the legislative director for Senator Grassley since January 2017. As legislative director, Kovarik led the senator’s policy staff, coordinating and monitoring legislative efforts and developments. Kovarik first joined Senator Grassley’s office as a press intern in August 1997. He served as a legislative assistant since 2001. In addition to his work on budget, labor and foreign affairs, Kovarik negotiated and led Senator Grassley’s efforts on the inclusion of biodiesel in the Renewable Fuel Standard, developed strategies to expand and extend the biodiesel tax incentive, and advocated increased use of biofuels through oversight activities.

The National Biodiesel Board is headquartered in Jefferson City, Mo., and has had a Washington office for more than 10 years. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors. In terms of federal policy issues, the trade association has been primarily focused this year on increasing volumes in the Renewable Fuel Standard, reinstating the biodiesel tax incentive and securing relief through several trade petitions on unfairly traded biodiesel imports. These efforts contribute to growing the biodiesel industry that already supports nearly 64,000 jobs across the United States.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel.

International Trade Commission Votes 4-0 In Support of the U.S. Biodiesel Industry

Today the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 4-0 in favor of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition’s position that the industry has suffered because of unfairly subsidized imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. This affirmative vote on injury, coupled with last month’s final countervailing duties determination by the Commerce Department, paves the way for final countervailing duty orders by the end of December.

This unanimous vote is important progress to addressing the harm by this unfair trade on biodiesel. U.S. energy policy sought to create a level playing field for domestic and imported biodiesel, but foreign government subsidies have made it nearly impossible for U.S. producers to compete. We are gratified that countervailing duty orders will contribute to leveling the playing field such that the domestic industry has the opportunity to produce at the levels it knows it can,” said Donnell Rehagen, chief executive officer of the National Biodiesel Board. The biodiesel industry supports roughly 64,000 jobs nationwide.

Last month, a mix of large and small producers testified on the volume and price effects of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia, and the related impacts to the industry at a hearing before the ITC commissioners. If the Commerce Department makes an affirmative final determination on dumping, then the ITC will still need to vote early next year on the question of dumping.

The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed petitions with the Commerce Department and the ITC in March to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions. These surging, low-priced imports prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused U.S. producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market.

The National Biodiesel Board is one of the members of the NBB Fair Trade Coalition. In November, the coalition won a preliminary antidumping determination from the Commerce Department; the department found that biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia are sold into the United States below fair value. The Commerce Department also affirmed its earlier decision that these countries unfairly subsidize biodiesel last month. As a result of these decisions, importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel will be required to pay two sets of cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.

For more information on biodiesel, visit www.biodiesel.org