June 6, 2019
Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar hosted a discussion in Moorhead on the state of biofuels and issues facing Minnesota farmers with corn and soybean farmers, as well as representatives from the Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau, and the Minnesota Biofuels Association. Klobuchar discussed recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) including the continued misuse of small refinery hardship waivers and the final rule released last week allowing for the year-round sale of E15—something Klobuchar has worked to achieve for years—as well as her recent legislation to help reform financial rules for family farms facing financial hardship.
“As the summer kicks off, the new rule for the year-round sale of E15 is great news for farmers and consumers across the country,” Klobuchar said. “The year-round sale of E15 will bring prices down at the pump, strengthen our homegrown energy economy, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. I have been fighting for years to allow for the year-round sale of E15 and this announcement will ensure cleaner, more affordable fuel choices during the summer driving months and all year long.”
For years, Klobuchar has led a bipartisan push for the EPA to allow for the year-round sale of E15, including letters to the Administration urging them to expand waivers for the sale of E15 in the summer months. In February Klobuchar questioned Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing about whether the year-round E15 rule would be finalized by June 1. Klobuchar is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which would amend the Clean Air Act to allow for the year-round sale of E15. She has also been a leader in the fight to strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to support American jobs and decrease dependence on foreign oil. Klobuchar and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have led bipartisan letters calling for a strong RFS as the EPA has worked toward finalizing its rules on biofuels volume requirements. In March 2018, Klobuchar and Grassley led a bipartisan group of 13 senators urging the Administration to cease issuing small refinery waivers and reject changes to the RFS that would upend stability and predictability for small businesses, and rural communities.
In March, Klobuchar introduced the bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). The legislation raises the Chapter 12 operating debt cap to $10 million. By raising the cap under Chapter 12 bankruptcy, which removes certain costly reorganization requirements intended for large corporations, more family farmers would be able to seek relief under the program. This legislation comes after several years of low commodity prices, stringent farm lending regulations and recent retaliatory tariffs have taken a toll on America’s agriculture producers. Farm bankruptcy rates in many farming regions across the country are at their highest point in a decade. In some places in 2018, farm bankruptcies doubled from the previous year. Debts held by farmers are nearing historic levels set in the 1980s, further financially extending farm operations.
Read the original press release: Klobuchar Highlights Fight to Strengthen Renewable Fuel Standard and Minnesota Farmer Protections