In a bipartisan effort, Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) sent a letter Wednesday to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting more information on the EPA’s plans to improve the approval process for new biofuels and to reconsider agency actions that have created significant uncertainty in the marketplace.
Donnelly and Johanns wrote, “In recent months, EPA’s actions have increased the risk of investing in the renewable fuels industry by creating uncertainty in the marketplace, which has put investment dollars in jeopardy and slowed the deployment of domestic renewable fuels. We urge you to change course.”
For new biofuels to qualify under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), EPA has to review the new technologies to make sure they meet certain requirements.
For years, delays with EPA’s petition process have slowed the development of new biofuels. In March 2014, the agency announced plans to improve the process. The Senators are pleased EPA is acknowledging the problems with the length of its reviews, but unfortunately, the agency has also announced it will stop processing non-priority applications and suggested that new applicants consider delaying applications until after EPA’s review process is completely updated. This is yet another agency action that will slow the deployment of new biofuels, so Donnelly and Johanns requested more information from the EPA detailing the agency’s plan to improve the petition process.
The Senators urged the EPA to reassess its efforts, writing, “The United States is leading the transition away from oil to renewable transportation fuels. We cannot afford to cede this leadership role and slow our own progress at such a critical time for the sector. We urge you to reconsider the agency’s approach on both the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation targets and pathway approval changes.”
To see a copy of the signed letter, click here.
Source: Senator Donnelly release