Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is disappointed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Proposed Rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard Required Volume Obligations (RVO) issued late last week. The biomass-based diesel levels — which are the amount of biofuels that obligated parties must utilize for 2014 — would be reduced below the amount actually produced in 2013.
EPA proposes a biomass-based diesel RVO of 1.28 billion gallons. EPA also has proposed to reduce the total advanced biofuels requirement, which limits opportunities for biodiesel.
“The level is unnecessarily low and would stifle growth and job creation potential demonstrated by the biodiesel industry,” says Bill Raben, soybean farmer from Ridgway, Ill., and ISG chairman. “Biodiesel, including biodiesel produced from soybean oil, is the most prevalent advanced biofuel produced in Illinois and the nation. Biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach one billion gallons of annual production. The industry has met or exceeded the RFS volume requirements every year.”
Raben says the biodiesel industry is on track to produce at least 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2013, and can match or surpass that production level in 2014. By keeping the RVO target at the lower 1.28 billion gallon level, EPA limits a valuable market for soybean farmers. Biodiesel provides a market for soybean oil, which increases the availability of protein-rich soybean meal. The increased meal supply results in a more cost-effective food and feed source.
“ISG will work with industry stakeholders and EPA during the public comment period to demonstrate the merit and benefits of setting the biomass-based diesel RVO at a level in the final rule that is not below the amount produced in 2013,” says Raben.