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U.S. House panel to discuss low-carbon fuel with airline, biofuel industries By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

By Stephanie Kelly and David Shepardson

(Reuters) – Members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee will meet on Tuesday with representatives from the biofuels and airline industries to discuss ways to expand production of low-carbon aviation fuel, a panel spokeswoman said.

The meeting is part of a broader push by lawmakers to advance climate and energy legislation amid calls by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050.

The aviation subcommittee of the Democratic-led House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is set to meet with low-carbon fuels provider World Energy, the Advanced Biofuels Association and Airlines for America, among others, two sources familiar with the meeting said.

The biofuels industry group represents about 30 companies and the airlines industry group represents about 10 airlines and delivery companies.

The virtual meeting is intended to educate subcommittee members about so-called sustainable aviation fuel, an alternative to traditional jet fuel that can be made using animal fat, used cooking oil and plant oils, the sources said.

Such fuels are considered more climate friendly because they help replace dirtier petroleum products while also providing new uses for wastes that would otherwise be thrown out.

Airlines and renewable fuel producers have promoted sustainable aviation fuel as a way to help reduce aviation industry carbon emissions, though it currently is expensive to make and would require subsidies to be competitive.

The Biden administration last month issued a new tax proposal that includes a blender’s tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel, which the Treasury Department said would enable “the decarbonization of a key portion of the U.S. transportation sector.”

Air travel contributes around 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Air Transport Action Group, a coalition of aviation experts focused on sustainability issues.

In March, the aviation subcommittee asked the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to assess questions around sustainable aviation fuel including what role the federal government plays in facilitating its development and what U.S. laws or policies present barriers to its production.

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