EPA asked to consider biodiesel’s benefits in improving community-level health outcomes
The National Biodiesel Board delivered a letter Sept. 16 to U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan renewing a request made in May to meet and discuss the findings of a new study, “Assessment of Health Benefits from Using Biodiesel as a Transportation Fuel.” The study from Trinity Consultants quantifies, at a community level, the public health benefits and resulting economic savings of using higher blends of biodiesel. The findings complement those of a new EPA report, “Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States,” which details the unequal impacts of carbon and associated emissions on socially disadvantaged communities.
“We believe that our industry’s goals are consistent with your agency’s plans to address carbon and focus on environmental health,” writes Kurt Kovarik, NBB vice president of federal affairs. “Replacing petroleum with drop-in alternatives like biodiesel and renewable diesel immediately reduces carbon. Additionally, biodiesel and renewable diesel reduce particulate matter and hydrocarbon emissions that contribute to cancer, lung, and heart disease rates.”
The Trinity Consultants study provides insight on one potential solution to the challenge EPA identifies in its new report. EPA’s report first identifies U.S. areas projected to experience the highest impacts of climate change, including air quality impacts on asthma rates and premature deaths. It then estimates the likelihood that socially vulnerable populations live in these areas.
The Trinity Consultants study shows that switching from petroleum to 100 percent biodiesel in transportation could annually bring the communities studied fewer asthma attacks and other lung problems, lost workdays and premature deaths, as well as reductions in cancer risks.
“EPA’s new report highlights an important issue but does not go further to discuss solutions,” Kovarik adds. “We would like an opportunity to show Administrator Regan how biodiesel and renewable diesel can support EPA’s goals to address climate change and environmental justice issues.”
Click here to download a copy of the NBB’s letter.