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Imperium Renewables Comments on EPA’s Proposed Rules

The company advocated policies that would ensure that the Advanced Biofuel goals established by statute would be met, including:

  • Recognize that existing facilities produce biodiesel that can be met using existing feedstock which does not have any land use impacts, and should for practical purposes be grandfathered in the Advanced Biofuels program.
  • Utilize a greenhouse gas emission methodology for rulemaking purposes that is based on sound science, is consistent with applicable case law concerning consideration of international impacts, and does not unfairly penalize U.S. biofuel production for unrelated land use shifts in foreign nations.

As the EPA moves forward with the RFS-2 rulemaking, Imperium noted that it is important to remember that the U.S. biodiesel industry produces the only renewable fuel in the marketplace today when it comes to commercial-scale production of biomass-based diesel as defined in RFS-2. Imperium also stressed that there is no indication that Congress sought to impose a penalty on existing production of biodiesel, which does not significantly impact land use change.

There are a number of other key points Imperium made in its comment to EPA, including:

  • Existing production of biodiesel should be deemed to meet the 50 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction requirement for biomass-based diesel.
    • Existing feedstock sources are already available to meet 2008’s 690 million gallons of production. As such, no land use changes, and therefore no significant emissions from those changes, can be associated with existing production.
  • The lifecycle greenhouse gas methodology for biodiesel is flawed and should not be used to regulate the biofuels industry.
    • There are a number of valid concerns about the methodology, including the inaccurate and nearly incalculable impacts of foreign policy and macroeconomic drivers that cause land use changes in other countries, and inaccurate data on energy balance and N20 emissions, as well as other erroneous assumptions in the EPA models.
  • The costs associated with registration, recordkeeping, and reporting outweigh enforcement benefits.
    • The EPA proposal requires a number of new compliance and certification provisions that will place a significant regulatory compliance burden on the industry, the majority of which is comprised of small businesses. Many of the proposed compliance provisions do not have practical application and will not work in practice as part of the day-to-day operation of producing biodiesel.

“We look forward to working with the EPA to address the proposal’s shortcomings and implement a final rule prior to January 1, 2010. We are concerned, however, that a final rule may not be issued until the end of 2009 or may not be made effective until after January 1, 2010,” said John Plaza, Imperium’s founder and CEO. “As such, we urge the EPA to issue an interim rule to effectuate Congressional intent and address the adverse impacts any further delay of implementing the RFS-2 requirements will have on the biodiesel industry or the obligated parties for RIN compliance.”

Biodiesel is an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum diesel fuel made from oils derived from crops, plants and waste products, which can be used in any conventional diesel engine. It can be used in pure form (100 percent biodiesel) or in a “blended” form, in which it replaces a percentage of petroleum diesel. A National Renewable Energy Lab study shows biodiesel emits about 78 percent less carbon dioxide than petroleum diesel. Imperium’s high-quality fuel meets or exceeds ASTM D-6751 specifications.

About Imperium Renewables

Founded in 2005, Seattle-based Imperium Renewables owns and operates a production facility in Grays Harbor County with a nameplate capacity of 100 million gallons per year. It is the largest BQ-9000 certified production facility in the United States and the second largest facility overall. More information on the company is available via the website at www.imperiumrenewables.com.

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