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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

As new EPA chief tours Iowa with ag, biofuel producers, NBB sends Regan letter to meet

biofuels, Regan, Iowa
Regan, center, tours an Iowa biofuel facility (Photo: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association)

U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan was in Iowa May 4, where agriculture and biofuel stakeholders took the opportunity to share the environmental and economic benefits of liquid renewable fuels. Regan toured an ethanol plant near Nevada, Iowa, and led a discussion among Iowa farmers and biofuel producers.

“His engagement in understanding our priorities and challenges was well-received,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “We shared with him our strong belief that biofuels must be a significant part of this country’s response to climate change. Biofuels like biodiesel have a proven record of reducing emissions like greenhouse gases for the past decade and are the best tool available now to cut carbon from the transportation sector over the next decade.”

Kimberley said EPA and the Biden administration should extol the benefits of low-carbon advanced biofuels, and support and grow their use—particularly through higher volumes within the Renewable Fuel Standard, a program EPA administers.

“Although there is certainly a place for electrification, we can’t electrify the entire heavy-duty truck market any time soon,” Kimberley said. “We’re going to need ultra-low carbon biofuels for decades to come—and biodiesel is one answer for today and in the future.”

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said Regan heard a loud and clear message in Iowa. “Biofuels are way more than a transition fuel,” Shaw said. “Biofuels are the net carbon-negative fuel of the future. Improved production practices at both the farm and plant levels combined with carbon sequestration technologies preparing to be deployed can make biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel net carbon negative over the next decade. That’s something that wind and solar can never achieve. Any plan to significantly reduce carbon emissions over the next decade must include biofuels and it is our hope after his visit today Administrator Regan will confidently carry that message back to policymakers in D.C.”

While Regan was in Iowa, the National Biodiesel Board sent him a letter requesting the opportunity for a meeting to share with him the findings of the new Trinity Consultants study. The new report identifies how use of B100 biodiesel in 13 select communities can drastically improve people’s health, lower cancer and death rates, and drive down healthcare costs.

“We believe that including biodiesel and renewable diesel in the administration’s plans to address carbon is fully consistent with your agency’s focus on environmental justice,” Kurt Kovarik, NBB vice president of federal affairs, wrote in the letter.

Kovarik added, “We appreciate Administrator Regan’s commitment to ensuring that biofuels play a role in achieving the nation’s carbon reduction goals. While the Biden administration has not yet explicitly included biofuels in the American Jobs Plan or the Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Accord, we believe it should. We would like the opportunity to show Administrator Regan how biodiesel and renewable diesel can support EPA’s goals to address climate change and environmental justice issues.”

NBB’s newly published study shows that switching to 100 percent biodiesel for home heating oil and transportation could annually bring the 13 communities studied 340 fewer premature deaths, 46,000 fewer lost workdays, $3 billion in avoided healthcare costs, 203,000 fewer or lessened asthma attacks for communities near heavy-duty transportation corridors, and 17,000 fewer lung problems for communities that rely primarily on oil for home heating.

Additionally, the switch would bring a 45 percent reduction in cancer risk for communities near heavy-duty transportation corridors and an 86 percent reduction in cancer risk for communities that rely primarily on oil for home heating.

For more on the new Trinity Consultants study, click here.



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