Holland & Knight this week notified Congress that it is lobbying for a trio of organizations that are looking to overcome U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concerns about the use of biofuels from oil palm trees.
Houston-based Neste Oil U.S. Inc., the Indonesian Palm Oil Board and Malaysian Palm Oil Council have hired the firm to advocate for the inclusion of palm oil-based biofuels in the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard program, according to lobbying registration paperwork. The program, which requires U.S. gasoline and diesel to have a minimum amount of renewable fuel, won't include palm oil if a proposal the EPA released in January goes into effect.
The EPA said in the proposal that palm oil-based biofuels failed to meet an emissions-reduction threshold that fuel blends must reach to join the program. The proposal’s public comment period, which ended on April 27, drew hundreds of submissions from Neste, the Indonesian Palm Oil Board, Malaysian Palm Oil Council and other supporters of palm oil, as well as its detractors, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation and World Wildlife Fund.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Board and Malaysian Palm Oil Council haven’t had lobbyists in Washington before, according to congressional records that date to 1999. A subsidiary of Neste parent company Neste Oil OYJ, however, has used federal lobbyists.
Venable, which filed a lobbying termination report for Neste Petroleum Inc. in February 2011, was the last firm registered with Congress to advocate for a Neste company. But the firm hadn’t reported any government advocacy work for Neste Petroleum since 2008.