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  • The National Biodiesel Board

NBB asks USDA to support biodiesel in pilot programs, climate-smart agriculture

soybeans, biodiesel feedstock, biobased diesel
Soybean harvest (Photo: United Soybean Board)

The National Biodiesel Board filed comments April 29 in response to USDA’s requests for public input on the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and a Rural Energy Pilot Program. NBB recommends that USDA leverage existing programs and create new pilot programs to support harvesting annual oilseed cover crops, update the lifecycle analysis of biodiesel, and expand biodiesel education.

“NBB appreciates the recognition that biofuels are part of the solution to address the climate crisis, and with the right incentives and market demand biodiesel is ready now to achieve the goals laid out in the executive order,” wrote Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs, in the comments. “Biodiesel reduces carbon on average by 74 percent, and it cuts particulate matter and other criteria pollutants in both transportation and home heating. Biodiesel and renewable diesel are the most widely available advanced biofuels today. They’ve helped the nation reduce carbon for the past decade or more. And we appreciate USDA’s continued recognition that they deserve a seat at the table as the nation addresses climate change over the coming decades."

NBB’s recommendations on Tackling the Climate Crisis include:

  • Under NCRS, allow harvesting of oilseed cover crops that produce low carbon-intensity feedstocks

  • Conduct an up-to-date analysis of lifecycle emissions for soybean-oil-based biodiesel

  • Recognize biodiesel’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutants such as particulate matter as the agency incorporates environmental justice considerations

  • Seek permanent funding for the Biodiesel Education Program, the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, and the Advanced Biofuels Payment Program.

NBB’s recommendations on the Rural Energy Pilot Program include:

  • Expand this pilot program beyond distributed power to include biodiesel, renewable diesel, and Bioheat® fuel

  • Provide grants to fully fund feasibility studies and business planning based on project merits and anticipated outcomes for both distributed power and biofuel-related projects

  • Offer grants to fund education to create sustainable pilot outcomes

  • Modify or broaden the rural eligibility definition.

The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry supports 65,000 U.S. jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year. Every 100 million gallons of production supports 3,200 jobs and $780 million in economic opportunity. Biodiesel production supports approximately 13 percent of the value of each U.S. bushel of soybeans.

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