Lawmaker Calls for Carbon Standards, SAF Investment

 - February 5, 2021, 12:13 PM
Gulfstream was an early adopter in the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Now, a bill in Congress could accelerate the adoption of SAF in the wider aviation industry. (Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace)

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-California) has reintroduced legislation to incentivize the increased production and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with a goal of having the U.S. aviation sector reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 35 percent by 2035, the congresswoman said yesterday. Originally introduced in November, the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Act would also set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

To achieve that, the legislation calls for a multi-pronged approach that would include a call for the Environmental Protection Agency to establish an aviation-only low-carbon fuel standard, as well as a requirement for the Department of Defense to use 10 percent SAF. A significant portion of the legislation is dedicated to various incentives, including authorizing $1 billion in federal funding for projects involving the production, transportation, blending, or storing of SAF. It also includes investment tax credits to finance new facilities and would authorize $175 million for research funding. Further, the legislation would establish a blender’s tax credit for SAF of between $1.50 and $1.75 per gallon, depending on the associated reduction in GHG.

“We are facing an existential threat to the future of our planet. In order to face this threat head-on, we must be creative, be innovative, and act quickly. We must do so wherever we can make a difference,” said Brownley, who is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Sustainable aviation fuel is a key component to decarbonize the aviation industry, but we need to scale up production and distribution if we are to achieve our climate goals.”

Her bill is receiving endorsements from multiple environmental groups. “Airlines must put climate change at the center of their recovery, and sustainable aviation fuels can play an important role in reducing the industry’s environmental impact,” said Kelley Kizzier, v-p of global climate for the Environmental Defense Fund.