Fri, 18 Jun 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: As part of a larger drive by lawmakers to advance climate and energy legislation, members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee held a virtual meeting with representatives of the biofuel and airline industries early this week to discuss expanding production of low-carbon aviation fuel.

The meeting follows calls by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration to rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050.

The aviation subcommittee of the Democratic-led House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure met with low-carbon fuels provider World Energy, the Advanced Biofuels Association and Airlines for America, among others, sources said.

The biofuels industry group represents about 30 companies, while the airlines industry group represents some 10 airlines and delivery companies.

At the meeting, subcommittee members were briefed about so-called sustainable aviation fuel, an alternative to traditional jet fuel that can be made using animal fat, used cooking oil and plant oils, Representative Rick Larsen, who chairs the subcommittee, told Reuters after the meeting.

"There's not a lot of SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) being used right now, relative to the U.S. demand for aviation fuel writ large, but there's a lot coming online," Larsen said. "The biggest effort from a policy point of view is to include the aviation fuel in the blender's tax credit."

The meeting also stressed the need for consistent policy that would help expand the market, another source said.

Air travel contributes around 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and, as such, airlines and renewable fuel producers have promoted sustainable aviation fuel, but it is currently expensive to manufacture and would require subsidies to be competitive.

The Treasury department noted that the Biden administration's new tax proposal issued last month, which includes a blender's tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel, would facilitate "the decarbonization of a key portion of the U.S. transportation sector."

In March, the aviation subcommittee sought to know from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, the government's role in facilitating the development of aviation fuel and which U.S. laws or policies hinder its production.

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