Legislation & Policy Overview
The Biofuels Center of North Carolina is actively engaged in a number of policy arenas from the North Carolina General Assembly and state regulatory agencies to the halls of Congress. This level of activity on policy issues is consistent with the Center's core philosophy that developing the biofuels industry in North Carolina must be done comprehensively. Consequently, the Center works in a variety of areas to build the biofuels industry, including research and technology development, growing feedstocks, and public education. Developing a suitable policy framework is in keeping with Strategy 9 of North Carolina's Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership.
The Center advocates for policies on a wide range of issues, including tax credits and other incentives that would benefit biofuels producers and distributors in North Carolina. A list of the current biofuel incentive and funding programs in North Carolina can be found in Business Development section of our website under Incentives.
The Center also works with many partners to establish environmental and agricultural policies that will ensure the bioufels sector develops in a sustainable manner. More information on some of the sustainability efforts underway at the Center can be found on our website under Sustainability.
Please see the updates and bill summaries in this section to find the most current information on legislation and policy impacting biofuels in North Carolina and in the nation.
North Carolina Legislation
Throughout the 2013 legislative session of the North Carolina General Assembly Biofuels Center staff will update this webpage with some of the biofuels and energy related pieces of legislation that have been introduced during the 2013 long session. (Updated March 27, 2013)
Senate bill 76, the Domestic Energy Jobs Act, contains a number of provisions related to the state's energy policy, including modifying the State's Energy Policy Council to a Energy Jobs Council. The bill retains a biofuels representative as part of that council. The bill has been approved by the Senate and referred to the House.
Senate bill 171, Limit Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, would prohibit state agencies and local governments from adopting or implementing rules or ordinances that regulate greenhouse gas emissions, if not required by a federal regulation or law. The bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee.
Senate bill 394, Lower Tax Rates for a Stronger NC Economy, would make comprehensive changes to North Carolina's tax laws. Among those changes, the bill would eliminate the tax credits for the construction of renewable fuel facilities and the biodiesel production credits. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committtee.
HR 796 introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) would limit the ability of the EPA to establish annual cellulosic biofuel requirements. Under the Renewable Fuel Standard program EPA sets target amounts for the production of cellulosic biofuels on a yearly basis. The bill would restrict EPA's ability to set the annual requirements.
HR 1461, the "Renewable Fuel Standard Elimination Act" sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (Va.) would repeal the RFS program in its entirety.
HR 1462, the "RFS Reform Act of 2013" also sponsored by Rep. Goodlatte (Va.) would significantly amend the RFS program, including: changing applicable fuel volume requirements; cap ethanol blending at 10%; and many other changes to the program.
S 344 introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (MS) that would overturn the EPA's approval of E-15 (15% ethanol blend) for newer vehicles. Currently, more than 90% of gasoline sold in the US contains a 10% ethanol blend or E-10. EPA has recently approved the use of E-15 for certain vehicles. This legislation is intended to overturn EPA's approval.
On 25 January 2013 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adjust its method of projecting the volume requirements for cellulosic ethanol as required by the Renewable Fuel Standard program.
On 16 November 2012 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied the request by several governors to waive the requirements of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.
(Updated April 22, 2013)
North Carolina Energy Policy Council
The North Carolina Energy Policy Council is charged by statute with developing and recommending a long-term comprehensive energy policy for the State of North Carolina. The Council was modified by the legislature in 2009 with new membership and a stronger emphasis on developing the Green Economy. Steven Burke, President and CEO of the Biofuels Center, serves on the Council in the position designated for an alternative fuels representative.
In March 2011 the Council submitted a report to the Governor and General Assembly on some initial policy actions, including several recommendations on biofuels production and distribution. All of the recommendations and background information can be found in the Energy Policy Council Report: March 2011.