Concerns Linger for Biodiesel Industry

Although the Environmental Protection Agency plans to release three years’ worth of volume requirements under the Renewable Fuels standard this year, the uncertainty has caused segments of the biodiesel industry to go into shutdown mode.
New numbers from the Biotechnology Industry Organization this week indicated the delays are partly responsible for billions of dollars of lost investment needed to meet RFS goals for advanced biofuels like biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol.
Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, says several biodiesel plants have throttled back production or totally shut down over the past 18 months.
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Industry efforts continue to focus on helping the EPA implement the RFS volumes in a timely fashion.
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RFS volumes aren’t the only hurdle the biodiesel industry is facing.  A biodiesel blender’s tax credit expired at the end of 2014 — and the EPA recently announced it would allow increased biodiesel imports from Argentina to enter the United States.
Despite the uncertainties, Steckel says the industry continues to look for ways to expand market access.
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According to the NBB, the biodiesel industry supported more than 62,000 jobs in 2013, with plants in nearly every state in the country.  A 2014 survey of biodiesel producers found that more than half had idled their plants, and 78 percent had reduced production compared with 2013.