It was recently announced that the federal government will implement provisions in the Renewable Fuels Regulations requiring an average 2 per cent renewable content in both diesel fuel and heating oil. Those Regulations, which came into effect in September of 2010, require an average of 5 per cent renewable content in gasoline. However, the regulatory provisions dealing with the renewable content of diesel fuels and heating oil were to come into effect at a later date.

Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment explained, "we were clear the 2 per cent requirement would be implemented subject to technical feasibility. After positive results, we are moving forward with this requirement."

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz endorsed the change, saying "[t]he new renewable fuel content in biodiesel and heating oil will give our farmers another market for their crops and demonstrates how agriculture can contribute to reducing Canada's environmental footprint."

Once fully implemented, the two regulatory requirements coupled with provincial regulations like Alberta's Renewable Fuels Standard Regulation will ensure a total volume of renewable fuel that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to four megatonnes per year. This reduction is equivalent to taking a million vehicles off the road.

The proposed regulatory amendment will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I in the coming weeks for a public comment period of 60 days. July 1, 2011 is the date the federal government proposes the amendment will come into force.

The Government's announcement follows the recent finalization of regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger automobiles and light trucks. Federal regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles are also in the works.