Policy inconsistency puts 8,000 biodiesel jobs in US at risk

(SeeNews) - May 16, 2014 - Cuts to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the expiry of the biodiesel tax incentive are threatening some 8,000 jobs within the biodiesel industry, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) calculates.

On Wednesday the organisation presented the results of a survey which shows that inconsistent policy decisions have already forced 80% of biodiesel makers in the US to cut back production in 2014. Some 57% have idled production altogether or closed a plant this year, while 66% have carried out lay-offs or expect to do so. The nationwide poll also revealed that 85% of biodiesel makers have put off or abandoned expansion plans.

Nearly all of the 54 companies polled are blaming the downturn on the weak RFS proposal and the Congress’ failure to reinstate the biodiesel tax incentive after January 1. “Inconsistency in Washington is wreaking havoc on the US biodiesel industry,” said NBB vice president of federal affairs Anne Steckel.

The survey took place between April 14 and April 25.

In 2013 the US biodiesel industry's output reached 1.8 billion gallons (6.8 billion litres) and employed around 62,200 people. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to cut the RFS for biodiesel in 2014 to only 1.28 billion.

In the US the RFS represents a mandate defining the volume of biofuels to be blended into petrol annually. It was introduced by the Congress in 2005 as part of its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil imports through promoting renewables.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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