On December 5, 2013, the General Manager from Beltway Biodiesel, Mark Kent, testified to the EPA on behalf of The Sustainable Biodiesel and all of its subsidiaries. The hearing was held by the EPA regarding the proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS.) The hearing drew stakeholders from across the country representing Biodiesel companies, ethanol producers, farmers, petroleum companies and retailers. The overwhelming majority of panelists were opposed to the EPA’s proposed standards. The few supporters of the proposed standards were the petroleum companies because they are going to have to blend less renewable fuel into their petroleum products. The RFS stipulates the amount of gallons of Renewable Biofuels that must be blended with petroleum products. The Biodiesel industry has been outperforming the production goals set forward by the standard consistently year after year since the standard took effect in 2007. The EPA’s proposed standards are below the levels of current production for this year and they propose keeping those levels for two more years. This severely impacts the growth of the most sustainable industry in the Advanced Biofuels sector. The hearing was very well attended with testimony lasting late into the evening. There is still an open comment period so please reach out to your elected officials in Washington and let them know that you would like the EPA to increase the production standards for the Biodiesel Industry. We hope that the EPA recognizes that the future of our renewable fuels industry is very dependent on making salient decisions that will accelerate the growth of the industry. A stronger production standard for Biodiesel will provide cleaner fuels, cleaner air and a cleaner environment for the future.
The following is the testimony provided by Mark Kent:
1421 Kenilworth Ave Washington, D.C. 20019
Testimony for the RFS Hearing December 5, 2013 Crystal City, VA
My name is Mark Kent and I am the General Manager of Beltway Biodiesel located here in Washington, DC. We are a waste cooking oil to Biodiesel company and a subsidiary of The Sustainable Biodiesel Company which oversees Tri-State Biodiesel, Connecticut Biodiesel, Independence Biodiesel, and Liberty Biodiesel. We collect waste cooking oil from Virginia to Maine and recently acquired a biodiesel production plant in Bridgeport Connecticut that will be expanded to a capacity of 10 million gallons per year. Additionally we recently acquired an algae to biodiesel company and are in the process of scaling that company up to commercial levels. We currently employ over 50 workers and with our new acquisitions we will be doubling the number of employees to over 100 in all of our operations spanning over 10 states. Our continued growth is dependent on the RFS and the RIN’s that accompany it. Biodiesel is a renewable energy success story and in particular our segment of the industry. We are taking a waste by-product that has already been used to serve a purpose and recovering the embodied energy that is still available for repurposing into fuel. The EPA should be stimulating the production of such an environmentally beneficial fuel, not intentionally trying to stunt its growth. When we look at financing new projects our model is dependent on the RFS and tax credits to make our fuel competitive to petroleum diesel. I would like to share a story about the beginnings of our industry. In 1900, at the World’s Fair, Rudolf Diesel introduced his engine that ran on peanut oil. He had patented an engine that was designed to run on peanut or vegetable oil that was produced by the farmers for their machinery. 13 years later, on September 29th 1913, 100 years ago this fall, Rudolf Diesel disappeared from a steamship travelling from Belgium to England. The mystery still surrounds his death to this day. With his death, so died his vision of vegetable oil to power his engine. Petroleum companies quickly filled the void with petroleum diesel fuel. That began the journey of “dirty diesel” which would pollute our environment for the next 100 years. Over the past 20 years the Biodiesel industry of today has sought to complete Rudolf Diesel’s vision of his engine running on vegetable oil, grown by farmers. We have been cleaning up the image of diesel fuel by providing a cleaner burning, renewable fuel that reduces toxic emissions by 90% over petroleum diesel. While we may never know how Rudolf Diesel died we will certainly know that the EPA is the cause of death of the Biodiesel industry today if the RFS is left at the current levels. I strongly urge the EPA to reconsider its proposal and increase the Biodiesel productions standards to levels beyond our current capacity to stimulate the growth of this industry and foster the innovators that are providing green jobs to our economy.