Pennsylvania to suspend 2% biodiesel requirement for 30 days
Pennsylvania will be suspending its 2 percent biodiesel fuel standard for a month, beginning June 27, “to minimize or prevent disruption of the supply of diesel fuel” in the state, according to a June 17 letter from Russell C. Redding, Pennsylvania’s secretary of agriculture, to Gov. Tom Wolf. The decision was made after the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture received a request to suspend the fuel requirement.
The law authorizes PDA, in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, “to suspend or modify to reduce the mandated content … if PDA determines that doing so is warranted by factors, including but not limited to, substantially increased costs to consumers or insufficient quantity or distribution of biodiesel.”
In consultation with the Pennsylvania DEP, PDA reviewed “the industry’s evaluation of the impact of ongoing market price volatility” on Pennsylvania’s consumption and availability of diesel fuel.
“Because wholesalers are unable to forecast the ongoing diesel fuel needs for in-state customers, they have ceased carrying a surplus of diesel fuel,” Redding states in the letter. “The extreme price fluctuation and limited inventory from wholesalers have caused low stock and rolling outages of diesel fuel throughout Pennsylvania. Based on this evaluation, PDA has determined, and DEP concurs, that it is necessary to take further action to minimize or prevent disruption of the supply of diesel fuel in Pennsylvania.”
Despite the monthlong suspension beginning June 27, Redding and PDA say that “all in-state terminal facilities shall continue to receive and blend diesel fuel in compliance with 2 percent biodiesel content mandate and all other provisions of the act. Additionally, these facilities should consider higher blends within the acceptable OEM engine requirements and their customer’s ability to make such products available to consumers.”
Retail diesel-fuel sales during the period will not be subject to the 2 percent biodiesel requirement. “Any retailer that took delivery of diesel fuel blended outside [Pennsylvania] and which is not compliant with the mandated 2 percent biodiesel content … may sell such diesel fuel to consumers during the period of this suspension,” Redding states in the letter. “After this temporary suspension expires, any retailer that took delivery of diesel fuel that is not compliant with the 2 percent biodiesel mandate during the period of suspension may sell the noncompliant diesel fuel already in its possession for use in on-road compression ignition engines. Any deliveries of diesel fuel to a retailer after this temporary suspension expires shall be subject to all provisions of the act.”
In the letter, Redding says PDA may modify, extend or terminate the suspension of the state biodiesel mandate if conditions warrant it.
“This step was a proactive measure to help ensure that fuel is available to keep the supply chain functioning and food and other products in the marketplace and on consumer tables during extraordinary circumstances,” Shannon Powers, PDA press secretary, told Biobased Diesel Daily.