The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) expressed support for the EPA's final rule establishing U.S. renewable fuel requirements for 2012 and called on the Obama administration to act quickly in completing a 2013 rule that maintains the EPA's recommended volume increases for Biomass-based Diesel.

The 2012 rule raises the Biomass-based Diesel program to 1 billion gallons, up from 800 million gallons this year. According to the latest EPA figures, the biodiesel industry had produced some 908 million gallons through the end of November, exceeding the 2011 requirement with one month of production remaining.

"This industry has shown without a doubt that it can meet and exceed the goals of this program in a sustainable way, with a diverse mix of feedstocks," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at NBB, the trade association for the U.S. biodiesel industry. "Our industry has plants in nearly every state in the country that are hiring new employees and ramping up production, in part because of the demand that this policy creates. As the only EPA-designated advanced biofuel being produced on a commercial scale nationwide, we look forward to continued growth in 2012."

Steckel also urged the administration to issue a final rule for 2013 volumes raising the Biomass-based Diesel requirement to 1.28 billion gallons, as the EPA proposed earlier this year. The EPA on Tuesday postponed finalizing the 2013 volume, saying it needs more time for review.

"We would have preferred to see that number released in this announcement and hope to see it finalized soon so that our member companies can plan their investments and continue boosting this economy," Steckel said. "The increase will create thousands of jobs, improve our energy security by diversifying the fuel supply and cut down on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions."

A recent economic study on biodiesel found that domestic production of 800 million gallons supports more than 31,225 jobs, generates income of nearly $1.7 billion to be circulated throughout the economy, and creates more than $3 billion in GDP.  At 1.28 billion gallons of production - the EPA's initial proposal for 2013 - the industry would support 50,725, generate $2.7 billion in income, and create nearly $5 billion in GDP.

Biodiesel makes up the vast majority of the Biomass-based Diesel program under the RFS. Because it also qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the program - with greenhouse gas emission reductions of 57 percent to 86 percent - biodiesel is also eligible to help meet general advanced biofuels requirements under the program.

Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that is reducing U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, creating jobs and improving our environment. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of feedstocks, it is the only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA's definition as an advanced biofuel. Biodiesel is used in existing diesel engines and meets strict specifications of ASTM D6751.