| Rhode Island General Laws - Biodiesel Issues
||Print this page
At the start of the 2012 Legislative session, I was appointed to the Biofuels Study Commission which was established by statue in 2011. This section of the website will document the information which I gather regarding the commission, its membership, and its mission.
The 'hyperlinks' which I have included will bring you to either the appropriate section of the Rhode Island General laws, to pending legislation, or other sources of related information.
Basis for the Commission in existing Rhode Island General Laws:
Promotion of Biofuels Act of 2011
Index Of Sections:
|31-36.2-2 Biofuels study commission established. .
- There is hereby established a special study commission to study the feasibility and effectiveness of various forms of incentives to promote the development and use of advanced biofuels in the state including, but not limited to: production credits, the production and harvesting of woody biomass or woody residue, feedstock incentives, and direct consumer credits for the use of advanced biofuels in various applications.
Said commission shall be known as the Biofuels Study Commission and shall be comprised of fifteen (15) members:
- five (5) of whom shall be members of the house of representatives, not more than four (4) from the same political party, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
- three (3) of whom shall be members of the senate, not more than two (2) from the same political party, to be appointed by the senate president;
- one of whom shall be the director of the department of environmental management, or his or her designee;
- one of whom shall be employed by an independent organization in the field of the environment and fuels, to be appointed by the speaker of the house;
- one of whom shall be the director of the office of energy resources, or his or her designee;
- three (3) of whom shall be employed by companies that work in and/or who themselves work in the field of advanced biofuels, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; and
- one of whom shall be from the University of Rhode Island cooperative extension, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
In conducting its investigation and study, the commission shall consider biofuel incentive programs in other states and the states' relative competitiveness in the field.
- The purpose of the commission shall be to investigate and develop a strategy to increase the use of advanced biofuels as alternatives to conventional carbon-based fuels by the state, its agencies and political subdivisions and regional transit authorities, and also
- to promote the use of such fuels in all sectors of the state, both private and public.
(c) Information furnished.
- All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish any advice and information, documentary and otherwise, to the commission and its agents that is deemed necessary or desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this chapter.
- The commission shall report to the general assembly on the results of its investigations and study and its recommendations, if any, on or before January 23, 2012, and at least every two (2) years thereafter on its continued findings and the results of its studies, and shall make such recommendations to the general assembly as it deems advisable.
|Biofuels Study Commission Membership.
|31-36.2-3 Further study purposes of biofuels study commission.
(a) The biofuels study commission established pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall explore the possibility of developing and entering into, to the extent possible, an agreement among those states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, for the purpose of implementing a low carbon fuel standard (hereinafter referred to as "LCFS"), for transportation fuels. Provided, the commission is not authorized to, nor shall the commission enter into any form of agreement, contract, compact, memorandum of understanding, or similar document or arrangement.
(b) By way of guidance, in developing proposed agreements, such agreements should seek to provide for the following, when reasonably possible:
(1) That LCFS shall be measured on a full fuels lifecycle basis;
(2) That LCFS may be met through market-based methods by which providers exceeding the performance required by an LCFS shall receive credits that may be applied to future obligations or traded to providers not meeting the LCFS;
(3) That agreement shall establish a declining standard for greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2-equivalent grams per unit of fuel energy sold, sufficient to achieve a ten percent (10%) reduction in the carbon content of all passenger vehicle fuels sold in participating states; and
(4) That the state shall, with the other states participating in the agreement, examine the regulations and implementation of a low carbon fuel standard in California and other states and consider ways to coordinate and issue public findings on both such matters, and if applicable, use in the agreement the life-cycle analysis methods employed by the California Air Resources Board to determine the carbon intensity of fuel. The state shall, with other states, adopt life-cycle emissions accounting standards that are consistent with the EPA's recently revised regulations for the federal renewable fuel standard.
|31-36.2-4 Biofuels as alternatives to carbon-based fuels.
(a) In addition to the preceding provisions of this chapter, the biofuels study commission shall investigate and develop a strategy to increase the use of advanced biofuels as alternatives to conventional carbon-based fuels by the state, its agencies and political subdivisions and regional transit authorities.
(b) The commission shall develop strategies to increase the use of advanced biofuels by the state, its agencies and political subdivisions and regional transit authorities and methods to advance those strategies. Methods to be considered shall include, but not be limited to: financing mechanisms including grants, loans and other incentive programs for group procurement of advanced biofuels, vehicles using advanced biofuels and distribution infrastructure and technical assistance.
Industry Standards ASTM International formerly "American Society for Testing and Materials".
ASTM Biodiesel Standard: ASTM D6751-08 details standards and specifications for biodiesels blended with middle distillate fuels. This specification standard specifies various test methods to be used in the determination of certain properties for biodiesel blends. Some of the tests mentioned include flash point and kinematic viscosity .
The California Environmental Protection Agency has a very comprehensive website regarding Air Quality, Alternative Fuels, Biodiesel, and other related subjects. Their page on Biodiesel contains this relative short, but 'information packed' statement:
"Biodiesel and renewable diesel are alternative diesel fuels, derived from biological sources (such as vegetable oils or tallow), which can be used in unmodified diesel-engine vehicles.
To produce biodiesel, a feedstock (commonly vegetable oil) undergoes an esterification reaction with methanol and a catalyst to produce Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME). Renewable diesel is produced by hydrotreatment of the same feedstocks as biodiesel, resulting in a hydrocarbon fuel that is very similar to petroleum diesel in its chemical composition.
Most commonly these fuels are used in a blend with petroleum diesel. For example, B5 would be a mixture containing 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel, whereas R20 would be a mixture containing 20% renewable diesel and 80% petroleum diesel."
Click on this link to see their website:
California Air Resources Board (ARB).
2009 -- H 5782 by Jackson, Martin, Rice, Sullivan, Edwards
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- MOTOR FUEL TAX
Purpose: to define the meaning of a manufactured biodiesel fuel with regard to the state motor fuel tax.
02/26/2009 Introduced, referred to House Finance
05/26/2009 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
05/26/2009 Committee recommended measure be held for further study
06/25/2009 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
06/25/2009 Committee recommends passage of Sub A
06/25/2009 Placed on House Calendar
06/26/2009 House passed Sub A
06/26/2009 Placed on the Senate Consent Calendar
06/30/2009 Senate passed Sub A in concurrence
07/08/2009 Transmitted to Governor
07/16/2009 Effective without Governor's signature
2010 -- H 7653
by Handy, Ruggiero, Rice, Vaudreuil
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- ULTRA LOW SULFUR AND BIODIESEL HEATING OIL
02/25/2010 Introduced, referred to House Environment and Natural Resources
04/01/2010 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
04/01/2010 Meeting postponed
04/08/2010 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
04/08/2010 Committee recommended measure be held for further study
2012 - H 7370
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY
Purpose: to create the Ultra-Low Sulfur and Biodiesel Heating Oil Act of 2012 in order to encourage the production of bio-fuels in the state, create jobs in the emerging bio-fuel industry, improve air quality and promote energy independence.
02/02/2012 Introduced, referred to House Environment and Natural Resources
|Intent and Purpose:
The intent and purpose of these acts are:
by requiring heating oil in the state to contain biodiesel-blended heating oil and by lowering the sulfur content of heating oil sold in the state.
- to encourage the production of bio-fuels in the state of Rhode Island,
- to help create jobs in the emerging bio-fuel industry,
- to improve air quality, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
- to promote the installation and use of more efficient heating equipment and
- to become more energy independent
Source of Definitions from existing sections of the Rhode Island General Laws:
Motor Fuel Tax
Section 31-36-1 Definitions
(14) "Manufactured biodiesel fuel" means:
This definition was the result of the passage of H5782 [see above].
- (i) Mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats which conform to ASTM D6751 specifications for use in diesel engines;
- (ii) That results in employment at a fixed location at a manufacturing facility for biodiesel fuel; and
- (iii) Any volume of biodiesel fuel that is subsequently blended with other fuels and is used for heating purposes or for operating or propelling motor vehicles notwithstanding the portion of biodiesel blended into any fuel, only the biodiesel portion of the fuel shall be exempt from taxation under chapter 31-36.
Source of Definitions from existing proposed legislation:
2012 - H 7370 - 23-23.7 - 3. Definitions:
(1) "Heating oil" means heating fuel or fuel oil used for heating residential, commercial, or industrial properties, including No. 1 distillate, No. 2 distillate, No. 6 distillate, a liquid blended with No. 1 distillate, No. 2 distillate, or No. 6 distillate with a three percent (3%) sulfate level, or a five percent (5%) bio-based liquid fuel that meets the specifications or quality
(2) "Bio-based product" shall include the following:
- (i) "Bio-based liquid fuel" means a liquid fuel that is derived principally from renewable biomass and meets the specifications or quality certification standards for use in residential, commercial, or industrial heating applications established by ASTM International - ASTM D6751, or the appropriate successor standard, as the case may be.
- (ii) "Biodiesel fuel" means the monoalkyl esters of long chair fatty acids derived from plant or animal matters which meet the registration requirements for fuels and fuel additives established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under section 211 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 7545, and the requirements of ASTM International - ASTM D6751.
- (iii) "Renewal biomass" means a material, including crops and crop residues, trees and tree residues, organic portions of municipal solid waste, organic portions of construction and demolition debris, grease trap waste, and algae, that can be used for fuel but does not have a petroleum or other fossil fuel base. This definition does not include oil derived from palm trees.
- (iv) "Renewable diesel fuel" means diesel fuel derived from biomass using a thermal deploymeriztion process which meets the registration requirements for fuels and fuel additives as established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under section 211 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 7545, and the requirements of ASTM International - ASTM D396
Goal of this legislation:
Heating Oil biobased products - Notwithstanding any law, rule, regulation, or order to the contrary, and in accordance with the compliance schedule established in this chapter, all heating oil sold in the state for residential, commercial, or industrial uses within the state, shall contain at a minimum the specified percentage of biobased product, unless such requirement has been suspended pursuant to section 23-23.7-6.
23-23.7--6. The governor may temporarily suspend the requirements
imposed by sections 23-23-7-3 and 23-23.7-4 if it is determined that the physical availability of
biobased product and/or ultra-low sulfur heating oil which complies with these requirements is
inadequate at commercially reasonable prices to meet the needs of the residential, commercial or
industrial uses in this state and the inadequate availability constitutes an emergency, provided that
the governor shall specify in writing the period of time the suspension shall be in effect.
|The compliance schedule shall be as follows:
- (1) Not later than July 1, 2012, all heating oil sold in the state shall contain not less than two percent (2%) of a biobased product.
- (2) Not later than July 1, 2013, all heating oil sold in the state shall contain not less than three percent (3%) of a biobased product.
- (3) Not later than July 1, 2014, all heating oil sold in the state shall contain not less than four percent (4%) of a biobased product.
- (4) Not later than July 1, 2015 and thereafter, all heating oil sold in the state shall contain not less than five percent (5%) of a biobased product.
Please send any comments to Rep. Peter Martin at the following email address: