U.S. Biofuel Industry Wants Pollution Credits in Climate Bill

by | Aug 12, 2009

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biofuelsMakers of biofuels, plastics and chemicals made from plants want carbon permits added to the U.S. climate bill that would allow them to emit greenhouse gases, reports Reuters. At the same time, the top U.S. environmental agency released the peer review findings on the proposed rule to implement the expanded renewable fuels standard.

The biofuels industry is urging U.S. senators to give them 1 to 5 percent of the emissions permits in the cap-and-trade program in the climate bill from 2012 to 2050, reports Reuters. These credits weren’t included in the House of Representatives version of the bill passed in June.

Although the biofuels industry is much smaller than the oil refining industry, which would get 2 percent of the permits under the bill, Brent Erickson, an executive vice president at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, told Reuters that makers of biofuels and plastics made from plants should get a share of the permits because their products are renewable.

Erickson also said these incentives could benefit companies such as Archer Daniels Midland Co, DuPont Co, Dow Chemical Co and Metabolix Inc. He also hopes companies that are looking to make fuels and products from algae will also get incentives.

At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the peer review findings that evaluated the lifecycle analysis for the proposed rule to implement the expanded renewable fuels standard, reports Biodiesel Magazine.

Four panels reviewed the EPA’s methodology for satellite imagery and emissions factors, accounting for lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels over time, international agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and GHG emission modeling for increased biofuel production, according to the magazine.

The peer view findings are getting mixed reviews from two key industry organizations. Manning Feraci, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, told Biodiesel Magazine that the peer review does not negate the significant shortcomings it highlighted with the EPA’s GHG assumptions that artificially underestimate the emission reduction benefits of biodiesel made from vegetable oils. He also noted that the reviewers agreed with the board’s view that the science and methodology associated with international land use change cannot be used for drafting federal regulations.

Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, had harsh words for the peer review. He told the magazine that by having lawyers and advocates on a scientific review panel it has “made a mockery of the Administration’s commitment to sound science,” adding that many of the reviewers have openly demonstrated biases against biofuels in the past.

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