Advanced Biofuels Association calls for RFS reform in landmark ABLC address

March 11, 2015 |
Advanced Biofuels Association president Michael McAdams in happier days, attending the 2012 RIMPAC Green Strike Group demonstration aboard the USS Nimitz

Advanced Biofuels Association president Michael McAdams in happier days, attending the 2012 RIMPAC Green Strike Group demonstration aboard the USS Nimitz

From 2012’s “Don’t Mess with the RFS” to 2015’s “Fix the RFS Mess”.

A commercial-scale development impasse over policy uncertainty prompts ABFA president Mike McAdams to call for RFS reform, at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference’s opening session.

In Washington, speaking at ABLC 2015, Advanced Biofuels Association president Mike McAdams called for reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard, stating “ABFA, at the instruction of our members, will actively seek to reform the [Renewable Fuel Standard] program. We call on Congress, which has studied these issues for two years and held numerous hearings, to step up and pass the fixes I have outlined. We believe that if Congress enacts these changes, then the investment community will have the certainty necessary to finance continued development of the advanced and cellulosic industry.

McAdams spoke from the same ABLC dais from which five trade organizations, in 2012, proclaimed “Don’t Mess with the RFS” as a common policy.

Proposal draws no support from BIO, AEC, Growth Energy, Novozymes

Brent Erickson, EVP of BIO and Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, appearing with McAdams at ABLC in the conference-opening policy session, opposed the move, saying that the current Congress was not amenable to improving the RFS. They continued to counsel that “don’t mess with the RFS” was the right policy. Both contended that shortcomings in the implementation of the RFS could be resolved adminstratively and did not require legislative action.

“If you are committed to fulfilling this mission,” McAdams continued,  “and if you believe like I do that advanced and cellulosic biofuels are still poised to flourish in the right environment, then I ask you to join us and work with the Advanced Biofuels Association to reform and strengthen the RFS so it can deliver the promise of next-generation renewable fuels.”

The proposal immeiately drew fire from Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, who said “By opening up the RFS for legislative changes, you are opening a can of worms that will only create further uncertainty for the industry, which is the last thing biofuel producers of any kind need. This is a shortsighted proposal that would set the entire renewable fuels industry on the path to a rollback of the RFS. By opening up the Clean Air Act, the end results could be far more disastrous for renewable fuel companies given the oil companies’ resistance to complying with the RFS.

“The simple fact is that first generation fuels, such as corn based ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol are inextricably linked and this proposal completely ignores that competitive commercialization in the future is likely to remain tied to the grain ethanol industry to capture the economic synergies of supply chains, co-production and marketing.”

Novozymes North America president Adam Monroe added: “This new industry [advanced biofuels] is at a critical juncture: because the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has driven so much private sector investment, there are three cellulosic ethanol plants online today and that could be the beginning of a much larger industry.

But if Congress or President Obama give in to the oil lobby’s efforts to weaken or eliminate the RFS, that could all disappear. The suggestion by a few people in our industry – and they are in a very small minority – that you can eliminate the corn portion of the RFS while still promoting advanced biofuels is a dangerous fantasy. The reality is, since the corn ethanol plants have already been built, but cellulosic plants are still being developed, it’s the cellulosic producers who will arguably be hurt the most by weakening the RFS.”

Majority or minority view?

The Digest has commissioned a survey on industry response to the Advanced Biofuels Association’s RFS gambit — and you can take the survey here — aimed at testing the depth and breadth of support for McAdams’ view.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: Top Stories

Thank you for visting the Digest.