Clean Fuels Alliance America Hopes to See Increase in EPA’s Renewable Fuel Volume

Listen to Reagan Calk talk with Kurt Kovarick about the latest from Clean Fuels Alliance America.

Associate farm editor, Reagan Calk, had the chance to visit with the vice president of federal affairs at the Clean Fuels Alliance America, Kurt Kovarick, and talk about policy priorities for Clean Fuels and more.

“Clean Fuels Alliance America is the domestic trade association representing U.S. biodiesel, renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel producers, and also feedstock providers,” Kovarick said. “Our industry is the largest sector producing low-carbon biofuels and placing distillate diesel fuel, jet fuel, etc.”

The top policy priority right now for Clean Fuels, Kovarick said, is dealing with the EPA’s (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) renewable volume obligation of the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard).

“The proposal that came out in December, which we anticipate to be finalized sometime in June, would set volumes in our industry for the next three years, for 2023, 2024, and 2025,” Kovarick said. “Unfortunately, the proposal that came out undercounts our ability to produce and is actually setting volumes below our current level of production.”

Kovarick said the soybean industry is seeing great expansion in the renewable diesel space.

“Announced, we have seen about 6 billion dollars of crush expansion, expanding soybean crush about a third, and that is in response to the demand for low-carbon fuels,” Kovarick said. “Unfortunately, EPA didn’t recognize that when they put the proposal out, so what we are doing right now is trying to convince EPA to raise that volume before they make it final in June.”

While there has been a good bit of positive movement on this front, Kovarick said it is too early to know what the outcome may be.

“We are doing everything we can to impress upon them with data and information that there is ability to produce more, the feedstock is there and that it is in the interest of the U.S. environment, the economy and the ag industry to do that,” Kovarick said. “If this administration wants to decarbonize transportation fuel, there is no better way to do it in the heavy-duty sector than through low-carbon biodiesel and renewable diesel.”

If the EPA chooses to go forward with volumes that are below the current industry levels, Kovarick said Clean Fuels would prefer the EPA only to set one volume rather than three.

“We would rather come back and have this fight again for 2024 and 2025,” Kovarick said. “Don’t set three years’ worth of volumes if you are going to set them below what our industry is currently producing.”

Regarding the 2023 Farm Bill, Kovarick said the main priority of Clean Fuels is to maintain support through the energy title and support feedstock providers.

“One thing that our industry does is support members like Seaboard Energy,” Kovarick said. “Seaboard is a pork producer that also owns biodiesel and renewable diesel facilities where they convert the waste animal fats into low-carbon fuel, and they are doing that in Guymon, Oklahoma with rendered animal fats from their pig slaughter operations.”

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