Federal agencies must prefer bio, not petroleum, products

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, January 11, 2005 (ENS): Secretary Ann Veneman has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has adopted a final rule establishing a policy of preferred procurement for biobased products.

The preferred products - such as biobased greases, biodiesel and ethanol when used as additives, hydraulic fluids, biobased polymers, industrial solvents, biobased fertilizers and cutting oils - would be used instead of petroleum products.

During remarks Sunday at the 2005 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting, Veneman said, "This rule promotes energy independence and the use of environmentally sustainable energy from biological sources, while at the same time creating new demand for agricultural commodities and new business investment and job growth in rural America."

The final rule outlines provisions for the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program under the 2002 Farm Bill, which requires all federal agencies to preferentially purchase biobased products that have been designated by the USDA as eligible.

"The Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program creates a preference across the entire federal government to purchase biobased products, when practical, based on price, availability and performance," Veneman said.

For More Information...
To date, USDA has identified 83 items on which it is developing test information to support designation by rulemaking and are available for viewing at: http://www.biobased.oce.usda.gov. Obtain further information on the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program at the website above or contact Marvin Duncan, Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, at 202-401-0532, or at: mduncan@oce.usda.gov.

The new rule establishes the process by which the Department of Agriculture will designate "items" for preferred procurement by federal agencies.

Federal agencies must assure within one year after the publication of this final rule that their procurement specifications require the preference of biobased products consistent with this rule.

The rule is scheduled to be in the January 11, 2005, issue of the Federal Register and will be posted at: www.biobased.oce.usda.gov.