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CEO Jeff Haas meets with Senators in DC

posted May 14, 2014, 1:02 PM by Primary Administrator

Biodiesle Magazine Article

Survey shows biodiesel producers hit hard by policy uncertainty

By The National Biodiesel Board | May 14, 2014

    Policy setbacks in Washington, D.C., are taking a major toll on the most successful advanced biofuel in the U.S., according to a nationwide survey of biodiesel producers released May 14.

    The survey, conducted by the National Biodiesel Board, found that nearly 80 percent of U.S. biodiesel producers have scaled back production this year and more than half have idled production at a plant altogether. Additionally, two-thirds of producers said they have already reduced or anticipate reducing their workforce as a result of the downturn. The cutbacks come in the face of a weak renewable fuel standard (RFS) proposal from the EPA and Congress’ failure to extend the biodiesel tax incentive.

    Biodiesel producers and other advocates joined a group of U.S. senators at a press conference May 14 in calling for Congress and the administration to act quickly to restore the industry’s progress by supporting a strong RFS and reinstating the tax incentive.

    “Inconsistency in Washington is wreaking havoc on the U.S. biodiesel industry,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “It’s not just hurting these producers. It is a setback for local economies where these plants operate, for our environment, for our national energy security, and for drivers who are tired of ever-increasing fuel prices that result from the petroleum industry’s monopoly at the pump.”

    The producers nearly universally attributed the industry decline to the weak RFS proposal and loss of the tax incentive.

    The RFS proposal, which has not yet been finalized, would establish a biodiesel standard of 1.28 billion gallons this year. That is a sharp cut from last year’s record production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons that would likely force many producers to shut their doors.

    The biodiesel tax incentive expired on Jan. 1, marking the third time in five years that Congress has allowed it to lapse. The House and Senate have begun moving tax extenders legislation but it remains unclear when or if the incentive might be reinstated.

    Among the other survey findings:

    -78 percent have reduced production versus 2013

    -57 percent have idled production altogether or shut down a plant this year

    -66 percent have reduced workforce or anticipate reducing workforce

    -85 percent have delayed or canceled expansion plans

    At the press conference, several biodiesel producers and senators called on the administration and Congress to restore stable policy to get the industry back on track.

    “Unless Congress and the administration act, we will be forced to make very difficult decisions in the near future,” said Jeff Haas, CEO of General Biodiesel in Seattle. “We are all slowly being bled dry, and America’s growing biofuels industry may be irreparably harmed.”

    “We made these investments because we believed in what the administration and Congress were trying to accomplish with the renewable fuel standard and because a road map was laid out for growth under the RFS for the next decade, particularly in advanced biofuels,” said Wayne Presby, owner of White Mountain Biodiesel in North Haverhill, N.H., discussing the growth of his business in recent years and now-delayed expansion plans. “But with this RFS proposal, and the uncertain tax policy from Congress, that expansion and the jobs that would come with it are on hold.”

    “This uncertainty is bad for producers, it’s bad for agriculture, it’s extremely bad for investors, it’s bad for the environment, and it’s particularly bad for those of us who took cues from Congress and the administration and made the commitments to build a U.S. renewable fuels future,” said Terry Goerger, a seed company owner and third-generation farmer from Mantador, N.D.

    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said the administration’s proposal and the loss of the tax incentive is hurting her state’s agriculture sector as well as its production plant in Velva, N.D.

    “Biodiesel has an incredible success story to tell,” Heitkamp said. “Farmers in North Dakota and throughout the country are supporting good jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and boosting rural communities. But instead of promoting these successes, federal policies are dragging our farmers and producers down. That’s the wrong direction.”

    “Indiana is a leader in biofuel production, and I have seen firsthand the good work being done at our biodiesel plants across our state,” said Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. “The biodiesel industry is an excellent example of American-made energy that increases our energy security and creates jobs at home. That is why it is so critical that we continue and strengthen energy policies, like the biodiesel tax credit and the renewable fuel standard, that increase the production of American-made biofuels.”

    Made from a diverse mix of fats and oils including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated advanced biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. Last year, the industry produced a record of nearly 1.8 billion gallons, with plants in almost every state in the country supporting some 62,200 jobs. According to a recent study, nearly 8,000 of those jobs would be threatened by a drop in production back to 1.28 billion gallons as the EPA has proposed.

    The survey of NBB members was conducted April 14-25. Fifty-four biodiesel producers from across the country participated in the survey.

    Enviro Group Pushing Gov. Inslee To Adopt Clean Fuels Standard

    posted Feb 28, 2014, 7:39 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 28, 2014, 7:41 AM ]

    News

    The environmental group Climate Solutions is urging Gov. Jay Inslee to exercise his executive power to adopt a clean fuels standard. 

    The group's leaders spoke to reporters on Thursday in hopes of adding momentum to their efforts to follow in the footsteps of California and British Columbia.

    Carrie Nyssen with the American Lung Association says cars and trucks are the largest source of air pollution in Washington state.

    “Infants, children, the elderly and people with lung disease, those with cardiovascular disease and diabetes are especially vulnerable to polluted air. Air pollution can affect fetal development" Nyssen said. "So given the large proportion of air pollution caused by transportation, it makes sense that we make this switch to cleaner fuels.” 

    If adopted, a clean fuels standard would encourage more use of biofuels and other alternatives that have lower carbon emissions than petroleum-based gas.

    Oil companies have commissioned studies claiming that it could make prices of fossil-based fuels go up dramatically. Climate Solutions says this is not true. In California, prices have remained stable.

    King5 Story on EPA & Biofuel Mandate

    posted Jan 20, 2014, 7:51 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 20, 2014, 8:46 AM ]

    Full King5 Story


    by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News



    Growing up during the gas shortages of the 1970's, Dan Freeman decided America's energy policies were like a clogged fuel filter: they kept stalling the country's progress. Twenty-five years later he became the first to introduce biodiesel to Seattle.

    "I see it as the simplest, most perfect solution to our oil, energy and global warming problems," he said from outside Dr. Dan's Alternative Fuelworks in Ballard, where he sells biodiesel to drivers.

    Washington state has been a leader in the biofuel industry, producing millions of gallons of biodiesel and supporting hundreds of family wage jobs. Now, though, the EPA is considering reducing the mandatory mixture of ethanol and biodiesel in our gas pumps by hundreds of millions of gallons. It's a move Freeman thinks could kill an important economic engine for Washington.

    "That certainly is going to cut off any growth or plans of future development in the industry," he said.

    The biofuel industry is coming off a record year, and could be falling victim to its own success.The EPA says the country is approaching a point where the biofuel mandates would require the use of more ethanol than can be blended into gasoline at the standard 10% mixture. Oil producers say the situation would force them to export more fuel or produce less gasoline, which could lead to possible shortages and higher prices at the pump. Biodiesel doesn't fall under the same contraints as ethanol, but is considered the same thing by regulators and would still be subject to the EPA cuts.

    Analysts say cutting the EPA mandate could cost 45,000 jobs nationwide. Seattle's General Biodiesel is in the middle of a 5 million dollar expansion, hoping to quintuple production and add about 10 more jobs. But the opposite may happen if the EPA cuts are approved.

    "We have no plans to cut jobs now, but it's something you have to look at. The constant back and forth creates uncertainty for employees, managers and for investors," said CEO Jeff Haas. "It's a time of great uncertainlty right now."
     

    As for Dan Freeman, he says he's losing faith that biofuels will ever succeed because the government simply won't let them. "It still has huge potential, but until the people in government get behind it it's not going to reach that potential."

    The EPA is taking public comment on the issue until January 28th. Send comments to a-and-r-docket@epa.gov and reference: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0632




    Posted on January 15, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Updated Wednesday, Jan 15 at 7:20 PM

    Biodiesel Industry Puzzled By Loosening Of Alternative Fuel Standard

    posted Jan 20, 2014, 7:45 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 20, 2014, 8:38 AM by Primary Administrator ]

    Full Story on KPLU Radio

    By 

    As the biodiesel industry convenes for a national conference in San Diego today, one of the topics of discussions will be the loosening of the renewable fuel standard.

    Among the participants will be Seattle-based General Biodiesel, a company that turns used cooking oil into vehicle-grade fuel. The company 's CEO is upset over backpedaling by the federal government on incentives for more use of alternatives.

    Until now, the company has enjoyed support through the standard, which was put in place under George W. Bush and supported by the Obama administration. CEO Jeff Haas says the biodiesel industry has expanded to meet those goals and even exceed them.

    “This year, the mandate was supposed to be for 1.7 billion [gallons]. We actually produced as a nation last year 1.7 billion gallons. So we were a year ahead of the goal.”

    So Hass and other biodiesel advocates are puzzled to hear that the EPA is talking about keeping the goal where it is this year “without a lot of explanation as to why they’re cutting the program,” Haas said.

    Hass says it will be a big topic among delegates at the conference he’s attending this week in California. Some of them will be invited to meetings with concerned people from the industry, both from the renewables and the oil sectors. And the EPA is also holding talks.

    The hope from business leaders like Haas is that governors of states with a lot of skin in the game will convince the feds to at least stay steady.

    Washington and Idaho both have big biofuels producers. But traditional oil companies are also feeling the pinch as fuel efficiency standards increase and more companies look to reduce their carbon footprints.

    King County Joint Press Release

    posted Nov 27, 2013, 10:00 AM by Primary Administrator   [ updated Nov 27, 2013, 10:06 AM ]


    Dow Constantine
    King County Executive
    Department of Natural Resources and Parks

     

                       News Release

    Date: Nov. 26, 2013

    Contact: Annie Kolb-Nelson, King County,206-477-5373

    Contact: Hoby Douglass, General Biodiesel,

    206-579-3623

     

    Help protect your pipes – and save money - by recycling used cooking oil and fats

    Give post-feast grease a new life as environmentally-friendly biodiesel fuel

    Wondering what to do with the leftover fryer oil and kitchen grease after the big holiday feast? Don’t pour it down the drain – grease sticks to the inside of sewer pipes and can build up to such a point that it blocks the entire pipe, leading to expensive and unpleasant clean-ups.

    The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks has partnered with General Biodiesel to provide residents with a way to dispose of used cooking oil and grease so it can be recycled into environmentally-friendly fuel instead of ending up in landfills or drains.

    During the holiday season, General Biodiesel will provide several convenient drop-off locations throughout King County where people can bring their unwanted cooking fats and grease. Locations are open 24/7, and there is no minimum amount. For a complete list of drop-off locations, visit http://generalbiodiesel.com/index.php/news/.

    To ensure safe and secure transport and disposal of your fats and grease, King County and General Biodiesel suggest putting the cooled material from fryers, pots or pans in a sealed container.

    At the disposal tank, slowly pour the grease into the collection container to avoid splatter and mess. Be sure to close the community collection tank lid when you’re finished. Take your own containers home and leave nothing behind but the oil you deposited to begin a new life as clean green fuel.   

    More information on keeping our sewers “fat-free” is available at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wtd/Education/ThingsYouCanDo/FOG.aspx or by calling 206-477-5371.

     

    This release is also posted on the website for the Department of Natural Resources and Parks at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/dnrp.aspx

     

     

    ###

    General Biodiesel is a Seattle-based enterprise that processes and refines regionally generated used cooking oil, grease, and renderings in to EPA-registered road-use biodiesel. Local waste stream, creating local green economy jobs, producing low-carbon fuel for local use. Learn more about General Biodiesel at www.generalbiodiesel.com.

    People enjoy clean water and a healthy environment because of King County's wastewater treatment program. The county’s Wastewater Treatment Division protects public health, the environment and the economy by serving 17 cities, 17 local sewer districts and more than 1.5 million residents in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. The regional clean-water agency now operated by King County has been preventing water pollution for nearly 50 years.

     

    11 23 2012: KING 5 News King County says, ‘Stop before you dump that grease!’

    posted Jan 27, 2013, 11:59 PM by Primary Administrator   [ updated Jan 28, 2013, 12:00 AM ]

    When it comes to food, the holiday season really is the most wonderful time of the year. But those holiday feasts can cause problems for more than just our waistlines.  Think lower ... as in the sewer pipes flowing beneath your house and street.

    King County is asking residents to be careful about the grease and fats that go down the drain.

    “Baking and cooking and deep frying turkeys, what do you do with all that oil?” Annie Kolb-Nelson of the Wastewater Management Department asks.

    11 13 2012: General Biodiesel news flash King County Residents to “Get Out the Grease” on November 17th

    posted Jan 27, 2013, 11:55 PM by Primary Administrator   [ updated Jan 27, 2013, 11:56 PM ]

    KIRKLAND,WA - The city of Kirkland is always looking for ways to do right by its residents and the environment we all share. On November 17th from 11am-1pm, it is partnering with General Biodiesel to host the first “Get out the Grease” recycling initiative for Kirkland residents.  Rather than dumping old cooking oil down the kitchen sink, which can lead to costly visits by the plumber, residents now have a new, free recycling resource at their fingertips – a public cooking oil drop off depot where every gallon collected will be transformed into low carbon biodiesel.

    The “Get out the Grease” event and new oil collection depot will be located at the North Kirkland Community Center at 12421 103rd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034.  All residents of Kirkland and the surrounding areas are encouraged to attend on Saturday, November 17th from 11am-1pm to recycle their used cooking oil, learn about other recycling opportunities offered by the city of Kirkland, and meet and greet representatives from the city of Kirkland and General Biodiesel. Additionally, General Biodiesel will be hosting a raffle for everyone who attends the event, with prizes including a personal deep fryer!

    The new oil-recycling depot is a permanent fixture, open and available to the public 24/7. As everyone gears up for a holiday season full of cooking and fried foods, remember to dispose of the left over oil responsibly at a collection depot.

    The full list and map of General Biodiesel’s cooking oil collection depots can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/oilrecyclingmap

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