Biodiesel producers push for higher mandate

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The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and 117 companies wrote a letter to President Obama Thursday asking him to increase the biodiesel blending mandate for this year from what the Environmental Protection Agency proposed.

The NBB has asked the Obama administration to mandate that diesel refiners blend 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel into their products in 2014 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), compared with the 1.28 billion gallons the EPA proposed last year. That was the same as the 2013 mandate, but the NBB said the industry produced nearly 1.8 billion gallons last year.

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“We are extremely concerned that you could be retreating on your previously unwavering support for biodiesel in a way that would have severe consequences for the industry’s future,” the producers said in their letter.

The EPA is only obligated by law to mandate 1 billion gallons, but it must increase to 2 billion gallons by 2015.

“This is a success story of which you and your administration should be proud: A clean, renewable energy industry meeting a challenging goal that you envisioned 10 years ago,” the industry said. “Yet with this EPA proposal, this administration is retreating. We urge you not to.”

The NBB said a mandate of 1.28 billion gallons would cause the industry to decrease production sharply and cut jobs.

The EPA has said it will finalize the 2014 RFS levels in June.