On May 5, President Barack Obama announced the formation of an interagency group to manage policies for developing and distributing next-generation biofuels, increase flexible fuel vehicle use and support retail marketing efforts.
The Biofuels Interagency Working Group will be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Working Group will be coordinating with the National Science and Technology Council’s Biomass Research and Development Board. The Working Group will coordinate infrastructure policies regarding the supply, transport and distribution of biofuels and will identify new policy options to promote the environmental sustainability of biofuels feedstock production with an eye toward land use, habitat conservation, crop management, water use and lifecycle assessments of greenhouse gas emissions.
President Obama has asked the Secretary of Agriculture to reform investments in existing renewable fuels to preserve jobs in the industry and devlop a comprehensive approach to accelerate the investment in and production of biofuels and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Part of this initiative includes loan guarantees for the development and retrofitting of large biorefineries and funding to encourage biorefineries to replace the use of fossil fuels to run facilities by installing new biomass energy systems, as well as funding for biofuels producers to encourage production of biofuels from cellulosic biomass and other feedstocks.
Along with President Obama’s announcement of the new Working Group, the EPA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to set new national renewable standards and implement those standards. There will be a 60-day public comment period regarding the new standards and the EPA will be conducting peer reviews on important elements of the environmental impact assessments within the proposal.