Apr 23, 2015
Washington, DC – As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works toward finalizing its proposed rule on biofuels volume requirements for 2014 and subsequent years under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Thune (R-SD), Al Franken (D-MN), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) are leading a bipartisan group of 37 senators in calling for a strong RFS. The EPA’s latest proposal would create uncertainty for ethanol and biodiesel producers and undermine job creation. In a letter to the EPA, the senators urged the agency to reverse course from the 2014 proposed rule and maintain a strong RFS to drive innovation and growth in America’s economy while helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
“The RFS has already proven to be an effective driver of alternative fuels and economic development,” the senators wrote. “It has strengthened agriculture markets and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the new energy economy, many of which are in rural areas. The biofuels volume requirements for 2014 and beyond have serious implications for our economy and energy security. We encourage you to ensure a final proposal continues to work toward achieving the RFS’s long-term economic and renewable energy goals.”
The RFS requires that transportation fuel sold in the United States contain an increasing amount of renewable fuel each year through 2022. While the volume of biofuels that transportation fuel must contain each year has already been set by Congress, the EPA proposed a lower level than Congress intended for 2014. The EPA recently stated it will finalize the biofuels volumes for 2014, 2015, and 2016 by November 30, 2015, but it has not indicated what the volume levels will be. Once the EPA finalizes the required 2014 level, refineries will be able to determine whether they met last year’s biofuels requirements or need to purchase additional renewable fuel credits in order to come into compliance. Moving forward, the senators are calling on the EPA to ensure that the RFS continues to drive further adoption of biofuels.
Last year, the senators met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and sent a letter to McCarthy with 25 other colleagues to urge changes to the administration’s proposed 2014 RFS rule, which would hurt the nation’s agriculture economy and energy security.
The following senators also signed onto today’s letter: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The full text of the senators’ letter is available below:
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
As you work toward finalizing the proposed rule on biofuels volume requirements for 2014 and subsequent years under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), we urge you to take this opportunity to reverse course from the 2014 proposed rule and craft targets for domestic biofuels that reflect Congress’ intended goals for the RFS.
The RFS has already proven to be an effective driver of alternative fuels and economic development. It has strengthened agriculture markets and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the new energy economy, many of which are in rural areas. Setting strong biofuels volume requirements for 2014 and beyond will ensure this progress continues. A stable RFS will also provide the certainty needed to unlock future investments in renewable fuels and necessary infrastructure, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy, and drive innovation and progress toward cellulosic, biodiesel, recycled-waste, algal, and other advanced biofuels.
When Congress passed the RFS and it was enacted into law, the intent was a forward-looking policy that drives future investments in both biofuels production and the infrastructure necessary to bring these biofuels to market. With its harmful 2014 proposed rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limited biofuels volume requirements based on available existing infrastructure, a condition that falls outside of the EPA’s clearly defined waiver authority provided by Congress in the RFS.
The biofuels volume requirements for 2014 and beyond have serious implications for our economy and energy security. We encourage you to ensure a final proposal continues to work toward achieving the RFS’s long-term economic and renewable energy goals.