In an a hearing Thursday on the Renewable Fuels Standard held by the Environmental Protection Agency in Kansas City, Kan., American Soybean Association Kansas Director Bob Henry pointed to the many benefits of renewable biodiesel produced from soybean oil as he called on the agency to maintain its commitment to clean, domestically-produced renewable energy.

“We are proud of the many benefits that biodiesel provides,” said Henry, who grows soybeans and corn in Robinson, Kan. “… including a more diversified energy market, increased domestic energy production, significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions resulting in improved air quality, new jobs and economic development, particularly in rural America, and, of course, expanding markets for soybean farmers.”

“The biodiesel and soybean industry has always advocated for RFS volumes that are modest and achievable and we have met or exceeded the targets each and every year that the program has been in place,” added Henry. “We have done this without any significant disruption or adverse impacts to consumers. And I would reiterate that we’ve done this while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing jobs.”

Henry pointed out that ASA is “glad” that EPA’s proposed rule increases volumes for biodiesel in the RFS to 1.9 billion gallons in 2017, but noted that the agency has an opportunity to support more aggressive biodiesel levels in the future.

“We see no reason why EPA should not, at a minimum, support biomass-based diesel volumes of at least 2 billion gallons for 2016 and 2.3 billion gallons for 2017,” he said, highlighting that additional soybean oil will be displaced from domestic food markets as a result of the recent FDA determination requiring the elimination of all partially hydrogenated oil. Henry also illustrated that increasing the biomass-based diesel volumes relative to the total Advanced Biofuels volumes will promote the use of biodiesel over imported Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol, and noted that an increase in the biomass-based diesel volumes would account for the likelihood of increased imports of biodiesel from Argentina.

A full transcript of Henry’s testimony is available here.