Biofuel exemption planned for home heating oil

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Home heating oil would get a permanent pass from Canada’s mandatory minimum for renewable content in fuels, in a new proposal from the federal environment ministry.

Environment Minister Peter Kent on Dec. 31 said he plans to propose an amendment to the federal Renewable Fuels Regulations installing a permanent, nationwide exemption for home heating oil from the requirement for two per cent biofuel content.

Kent said he will also propose a further six-month extension on an exemption from the two per cent biodiesel requirement for diesel fuel sold in Canada’s Maritime provinces.

That exemption, which covered the Maritimes and Quebec for 18 months, expired Dec. 31 and had been meant to allow eastern fuel refiners more time to install biodiesel blending infrastructure.

"Today’s measures will provide flexibility for Maritime provinces to make adjustments required to comply with the regulations, and ensure Canadian families are not penalized for heating their homes with home heating oil," Kent said in a release.

A permanent exemption already in place for Newfoundland and Labrador from the requirement for two per cent renewable content in diesel remains unchanged, Kent’s Dec. 31 release noted. That exemption was also granted "to address the logistical challenges of blending biodiesel in this region."

Renewable content would include fuels such as biodiesel created from oilseed crops, processed fats, used cooking oil or other suitable biomass.

The Renewable Fuels Regulations also require an average of five per cent renewable content, such as grain-based ethanol, in Canadian gasoline.

The regulations, when launched, were meant to help reduce Canada’s total emissions of greenhouse gases, and to provide "certainty" for renewable fuel processors to invest and create market opportunities for farmers.

Related story:
Nationwide biodiesel mandate to arrive Friday, June 30, 2011