Study finds biodiesel industry supports over 62,000 jobs
According to a recent independent study, the U.S. biodiesel industry is supporting more than 62,000 jobs and $2.6 billion in wages this year with production on pace for a record of 1.7 billion gallons.
The study, conducted by LMC International, is adding another argument piece in favor of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“This is further evidence that a growing biodiesel industry and a strong Renewable Fuel Standard are good for the economy,” said Anne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “Biodiesel is a true RFS success story, and we should continue that momentum next year with modest growth that will create even more jobs.”
The study found that employment supported by the industry would drop by almost 8,000 jobs if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were to limit production to 1.28 billion gallons, the volume proposal included in a recently leaked EPA document outlining potential RFS standards next year.
“The negative impact of that proposal is clear—it would force biodiesel plants to close and put people out of work,” Steckel said. “The EPA and the Obama administration can avoid that by supporting a strong 2014 standard that is at least consistent with this year’s production.”
The study, commissioned by NBB and conducted by LMC International, a global economic research firm, looked at three production scenarios for 2014. First, under status quo production of 1.7 billion gallons, supported employment would remain at 62,200 jobs with supported wages of $2.6 billion and total economic impact of nearly $16.8 billion.
If production were to fall back to 1.28 billion gallons, the number of supported jobs would drop to 54,500, with supported wages falling below $2.3 billion and total economic impact reduced to $12.2 billion.
A third analysis looks at a high volume scenario, consistent with recent months’ volumes averaging roughly 170 million gallons, or an annualized rate of 2 billion gallons. It found that the number of supported jobs would rise to 66,600, supporting wages of nearly $2.8 billion and total economic impact of more than $20 billion.
“The difference between 1.28 and 2 billion gallons next year could result in a swing of 12,000 jobs supported, $500 million in wages paid, and $7.8 billion in total economic impact,” Steckel said.
Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an advanced biofuel, meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Produced in nearly every state in the country, the industry has exceeded RFS requirements in every year of the program, producing more than 1 billion gallons annually since 2011. NBB is the U.S. biodiesel trade association. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor