Brown, Ricketts introduce biofuels bill

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 3, 2024

Senators: Legislation would open new markets for Ohio farmers, producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Pete Ricketts, R-Nebraska, introduced the bipartisan Renewable Fuel for Ocean-Going Vessels Act to open new markets for farmers in Ohio and across the country by encouraging the use of biofuels using homegrown farm products for ships and oceangoing vessels.

The bill would specifically expand markets for American made biofuels by ensuring that renewable fuel used in ocean-going vessels would be eligible for a renewable fuel credit that is available for biofuels used elsewhere.

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“Ohio can be a leader in producing more sustainable marine fuels – creating new markets for Ohio farmers,” said Brown. “From ships crossing the Atlantic to vessels delivering goods to ports along Lake Erie, Ohio soybean farmers can produce the renewable fuel of the future that drives this industry. This bill is a win for Ohio farmers and producers.”

The legislation preserves Renewable Identification Number credits under the Renewable Fuel Standard program for renewable fuel when the fuel is used in ocean-going vessels. The Renewable Fuel Standard currently excludes “fuel used in ocean-going vessels” from the definition of transportation fuels and from refiners’ and blenders’ obligations.

Refiners and blenders are currently required to retire RINs from any biodiesel and renewable diesel used in vessels with Class 3 engines operating in international waters, including the Great Lakes. In the first ten months of 2023, more than 5 million D4 RINs were retired under this rule.

The Environmental Protection Agency, however, allows companies to generate and use RINs for “additional renewable fuel,” which includes heating oil and jet fuel. The Renewable Fuel for Ocean-Going Vessels Act would expand the Renewable Fuel Standard definition of additional renewable fuel and allow companies to use or sell the RINs associated with biodiesel and renewable diesel used in ocean-going vessels.

The bill is supported by Ohio Soybean Association, Clean Fuels Alliance America, American Soybean Association, Cruise Lines International Association, American Waterways Operators, and North American Renderers Association.