WASHINGTON, DC –America’s top biofuel and farm advocates called on Democratic leaders to fix a major flaw in the House Ways & Means Committee text released Friday night for tax provisions of the budget reconciliation, which is set for consideration Tuesday. As drafted, the text could leave American farmers and biofuel producers cut out of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) market, in favor of foreign imports. Despite farm-friendly promises as recently as Thursday from White House leaders, the legislation under consideration would rely on foreign standards based on decade-old models, rather than updated lifecycling modeling by scientists at the Department of Energy who study the U.S. agricultural supply chain, including both direct and indirect land use.
“Without a change in these three bills before the House of Representatives, U.S. biofuel producers will not be able to participate in the SAF market, rural communities will be locked out from contributing to a cleaner climate, and our nation’s ability to decarbonize the airline fleet will suffer,” said Growth Energy, Advanced Biofuels Business Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, and Renewable Fuels Association in a letter Sunday
Full text of the letter follows
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer:
We are writing to request that current legislative proposals to encourage development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) under consideration for inclusion in budget reconciliation and the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) be amended to rely on the most updated and accurate science-based lifecycle carbon assessment (LCA) methods and to permit the use of SAF derived from agricultural feedstocks.
Numerous members of our respective organizations are poised to produce SAF or sustainable feedstocks for SAF. Many others are working toward participation in the full value chain in the relatively near future. Because biomass feedstocks are essential SAF sources, it is imperative that tax credits and other programs properly account for the lifecycle emissions of these sources and the petroleum products these new fuels will replace.
Just last week, the White House convened a group of over 150 stakeholders where National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Secretaries Vilsack, Buttigieg and Granholm announced a goal of reducing aviation emissions 20% by 2030. Notably, Secretary Vilsack said, “USDA and American agriculture will make sustainable aviation possible in concert with our federal and industry partners and their stakeholders.”
Unfortunately, the reconciliation packages for the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, as well as the FY22 NDAA, would exclude SAF derived from agricultural feedstocks from incentive programs and ensure that the Administration’s vision for reducing aviation emissions and the cited opportunities for American agriculture are not realized. Instead, SAF blend stock from Brazil, Singapore and elsewhere will be subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, while U.S. producers and farmers are shut out.
In the case of the NDAA bill, there is an explicit exclusion from an SAF pilot program. In the case of Ways and Means and T&I, the Committees require the use of a model from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency, to measure the carbon intensity of various fuels that is inaccurate and effectively excludes agriculture based biofuels from these Federal incentive programs.
Although the Ways and Means reconciliation text allows the option for DOE to be involved in conducting LCA with EPA, Ways and Means requires any U.S.-based LCA to “meet the requirements” of ICAO, and T&I requires any U.S.-based LCA to be “as stringent as” the ICAO model. This language could be interpreted to require the use of the ICAO methodology in lieu of DOE’s more robust data and modeling approach.
Additionally, the T&I text does not include DOE in the process and relies exclusively on EPA. Unlike the DOE, EPA does not maintain a regularly updated LCA model or methodology for biofuels.
If this country is to meet our carbon reduction goals, these flaws must be addressed. SAF derived from agricultural biomass feedstocks must be eligible for any Federal program, including those authorized in the NDAA. And, the Ways and Means and T&I reconciliation proposals should provide for a DOE-led LCA, unencumbered by ICAO, utilizing USDA expertise on agriculture feedstocks.
Without a change in these three bills before the House of Representatives, U.S. biofuel producers will not be able to participate in the SAF market, rural communities will be locked out from contributing to a cleaner climate, and our nation’s ability to decarbonize the airline fleet will suffer. Thank you for your leadership and consideration.
Advanced Biofuels Business Council
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Soybean Association
National Biodiesel Board
National Corn Growers Association
National Farmers Union
National Sorghum Producers
Renewable Fuels Association
WASHINGTON, D.C. – America’s top biofuel and farm advocates called on the White House to take immediate action to address reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may soon seek to destroy demand for billions of gallons of low-carbon biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The following joint statement was issued by the Advanced Biofuels Business […]
Thank you so much for this great honor. I look forward to continuing to work together to promote U.S. biofuels and support this critical industry. https://t.co/98yfV1atz7