Last week, agriculture and biofuels leaders in both the House and Senate stood up for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in a series of letters and on the Senate floor, advocating for the Biden Administration to set strong 2021 and 2022 RFS volumes and opposing options to waive or exempt refiners from the RFS.
Senate and House Democrats sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and National Economic Council Director Brain Deese on Wednesday saying, “As your Administration continues to push for meaningful and rapid climate action, biofuels can and should play an important role in decarbonizing vehicle emissions. Recent studies demonstrate that using ethanol in place of gasoline reduces greenhouse gas emissions by almost half, while biodiesel cuts greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 74 percent. Exempting refiners of their obligations to blend biofuel would mean increased reliance on oil and more carbon emissions – a result this country cannot afford if we are to meet our new commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by 50 – 52 percent by 2030.”
Signers included Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Dick Durbin (IL), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (MI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Tina Smith (MN) and Representatives Cindy Axne (IA-03), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Angie Craig (MN-01), Ron Kind (WI-03), Mark Pocan (WI-02), House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (GA-13), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) and Ruben Gallego (AZ-7).
A group of House Biofuels Caucus members sent a letter Friday saying, “The RFS has been a tremendous success, providing a critical value-added market for our farmers, lowering the price of fuel for consumers, and improving air quality across the nation. The past efforts to undermine the RFS with SREs, tepid annual volume requirements, and lack of support amid the COVID-19 pandemic left the biofuels industry uncertain on several fronts. Undercutting the RFS will undermine its future potential and impose additional uncertainty for our local farmers and biofuels producers.”
Signers included Rodney Davis (IL-13), Adrian Smith (NE-3), Dusty Johnson (SD), Randy Feenstra (IA-4), Michelle Fischbach (MN-7), Jim Hagedorn (MN-1), Darin LaHood (IL-18), Donald J. Bacon (NE-2), Ann Wagner (MO-2), Tom Emmer (MN-6), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3), Mike Bost (IL-12), Ashley Hinson (IA-1), Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (IA-2), Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), Sam Graves (MO-6), Tracey Mann (KS-1), and James R. Baird (IN-4).
Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley also weighed in with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Senator Grassley also discussed the issue on the Senate floor last Tuesday.
Finally, NCGA joined other agriculture and biofuels organizations in a letter to EPA Administrator Regan and NEC Director Deese in support of RFS integrity.