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Source: U.S. Canola Association news release

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) is pleased with the release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) proposed determination that canola oil-derived renewable diesel and other newer biofuels qualify as "advanced biofuels" under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. On April 12, the EPA issued a "Canola Oil Pathways Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" for public comment.

Based on its greenhouse gas (GHG) lifecycle evaluation described in this proposed rulemaking, the EPA finds that renewable diesel, jet fuel, naphtha, liquified petroleum gas and heating oil produced from canola oil reduce GHG emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum. Meeting this requirement for advanced biofuels would enable those made from canola oil to contribute to reducing GHG emissions in the transportation sector. The EPA is requesting comment on these proposed RFS "pathways," which include production process. Only biofuels produced by EPA-approved pathways are eligible for the RFS program.

"Growing demand for lower carbon fuels makes the proposed canola oil pathways important as the United States seeks to diversify its long-term energy sources," states Andrew Moore, canola grower and president of the USCA, which petitioned the EPA in 2020 to approve canola oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel.

On April 12, the White House noted the expanded RFS eligibility for canola oil. "This action demonstrates [the] EPA's commitment to approving new petitions for renewable fuels that can provide greenhouse gas benefits as well as reduce reliance on petroleum fuels," it said.

The new canola oil pathways for biofuels would give parity among vegetable oils and fats in the market, give canola farmers new channels for their crops in times of surplus production and provide renewable fuel producers diversified feedstock options.

"The EPA's rulemaking would level the playing field between canola and other oilseed crops in the biofuel market," notes Moore. "New canola channels would also help farmers diversify and expand their markets."

Canola oil-based biofuels are cleaner-burning alternatives to petroleum that can replace or be blended with it. Renewable diesel, for example, is a "drop-in" biofuel that is chemically similar to petroleum so it can be used in existing transportation vehicles at 100 percent replacement without blending. U.S. renewable diesel production has grown since 2010 to nearly 1 billion gallons a year, which is projected to double by 2025, so the more feedstocks, the better.

Canola oil has excellent cold-flow properties due to its low saturated fat content, making it beneficial for biofuel production. In addition, canola is an ideal rotational crop that improves farm economics, weed management, soil health, pollinator habitat and more.

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