Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz today welcomed news that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a Canadian petition which will significantly expand opportunities for Canadian canola exports to the United States for biodiesel production – a market the Canadian canola industry estimates is worth up to $450 million a year.

The EPA’s approval of the petition will ensure that all approved Canadian biofuel and biofuel feedstock, including canola, meet the requirements of the US Renewable Fuels Standard Program (RFS2).

“This is great news for Canada’s canola industry, and will level the playing field for canola exporters to the US,” said Minister Ritz. “Our Government has worked closely on this issue with Canadian industry, as well as with the U.S. and we’re very pleased with this positive outcome.”

“This announcement provides a valuable opportunity for Canadian canola,” said Canola Council of Canada president JoAnne Buth. “We look forward to increased canola exports for use in biodiesel production.”

The US RFS2, implemented in July 2010, set mandatory volume targets for four new categories of renewable fuels, as well as reduction criteria for greenhouse gas emissions. The program affected the ability for Canadian canola to be used competitively as a feedstock for producing biodiesel sold in the US. This is because a methodology, known as the aggregate approach, was not originally available to Canada (or other countries) as an alternative to cumbersome land-use record-keeping requirements. In January 2011, the Government of Canada submitted a petition to the EPA in support of Canadian compliance to these regulations. Canada’s petition, now approved by the EPA, allows Canadian biofuels and feedstocks, particularly canola, to be utilized under the RFS2.