Following last week’s letter from members of the House – a bipartisan group of 31 Senators sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to urge the agency to make changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard 2014 rule. The Senators express serious concerns regarding the proposal for the Renewable Volume Obligations. They write that Congress passed the RFS to increase the amount of renewable fuel utilized in the nation’s fuel supply. They say the proposal to set the biodiesel target below current industry production levels at 1.28-billion gallons and reduce the total biofuels target to 15.2-billion gallons is a significant step backward – undermining the goal of increasing biofuels production as a domestic alternative to foreign oil consumption. If the rule is adopted as proposed – the Senators say it will replace domestic biofuel production with fossil fuels – contributing to a greater dependence on foreign sources of oil and reduce our energy security; increase unemployment as renewable fuel producers cut back production; halt investments in cellulosic, biodiesel and other advanced renewable fuels; undermine the deployment of renewable fuels infrastructure throughout the country; and threaten the viability of the RFS – thereby solidifying an oil-based transportation sector and lowering consumer choice at the pump. With those concerns in mind – the Senators request a revision to the proposed 2014 RVOs in a manner that promotes investments in the next generation of biofuels and the infrastructure necessary to deploy those fuels into the market. The Senators say without a revised proposal – the EPA’s rule will bring severe economic consequences and prevent the growth of the renewable fuel sector.
Iowa’s Chuck Grassley was among those signing the letter. He says the progress made toward energy diversity and independence will slip away if the EPA succeeds. Grassley says this letter shows that nearly one-third of the U.S. Senate believes the proposal needs revision. He says the President – as a supporter of biofuels – should weigh in as needed.
The letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy was signed by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Max Baucus (D-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Udall (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Groups Respond to Congressional Ethanol Support
National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre thanked the Senators and Representatives who stood up for American agriculture and the importance of domestic, renewable ethanol. He says slashing the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply at this time is a big mistake – sure to drive up gas prices for all consumers and harm the rural economy by driving the price of corn below the cost of production. Barbre says it’s great to see a bipartisan group of lawmakers stand up for legislation passed by members of both parties that has helped support jobs and the rural economy while making our air cleaner. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis also commended those who signed the letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Buis says the leadership of these legislators demonstrates the EPA’s proposed rule is flawed and contrary to the goals of the RFS. He says the EPA should move forward on biofuel policy – not backwards. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the RFS is the principle driver of the cellulosic and advanced biofuels industry. He too says the EPA’s proposal is a big step backward in the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ending the nation’s reliance on foreign oil and giving consumers a choice at the pump. Johnson notes the ethanol industry supports nearly 400-thousand jobs nationwide. If the EPA finalizes its current proposal – he says it will reduce farm income and damage rural economies. He’s hopeful EPA hears the message loud and clear that their proposal is not the right direction to take the country.
Source: NAFB News service