House Committee on Small Business Takes Notice of Biochar

On Thursday, May 21 University of Georgia Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering K.C. Das testified before the house Committee on Small Business.  The hearing’s purpose was to discuss “the impacts of outstanding regulatory policy on small biofuels producers and family farmers including biochar carbon sequestration.”  In his opening statement alone, Das called upon members of the committee to really take note:  “From what I see there is very little discussion at the national level, at the federal agencies, or within the existing legislature or outstanding legislature legislations that discuss [biochar as a means of addressing the excessive carbon levels already in the atmosphere], and I’d like to bring that to your attention.”  (To read his testimony in full, download the .pdf file here).

What’s more, Subcommittee on Regulations and Healthcare Chairwoman Hon. Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3) released a statement the same day as Das’ testimony speaking to small business biofuel producers’ interests in a proposed EPA rule:

“On May 5, the EPA released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Renewable Fuels Standard.  The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is a law that requires fuels in the U.S. to contain a certain percentage of biofuels.   The EPA’s rule could disqualify many biofuel producers from the RFS program, preventing them from selling their product and staying in business.”

“The biofuels industry holds great promise not only to create new, good paying jobs, but to wean our nation off foreign energy sources.  However, we can only benefit if we adopt policies that promote the growth of this industry, rather than hampering it before it gets off the ground.”

“EPA’s publication of its proposed rule starts the clock ticking on the formal comment period, which will last for 60 days.  Upon completion of that comment period, EPA is expected to move forward in crafting a final rule.”

(The press release is available in full on the Committee’s website, or simply click here.)

The 60 day period concluded earlier this month and we now await the final publication of the rule.  It is of critical importance to re:char among other biochar/biomass small business.  In Dahlkemper’s remarks, she did highlight the EPA’s leeway to rework the rule to protect the developing biomass industry.  Here at re:char, we are optimistic that her sentiment and biochar’s support from Das, Lehmann, Hansen, Gore, Lovelock, and many others is being taken into consideration.

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