Apr 10, 2020
Washington, D.C - Representative Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, led fellow members of the Biofuels Caucus in urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to direct funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support the biofuels industry. Biofuels plants across the nation have idled production as stay at home orders reduce demand for fuel and the profitability of biofuels production.
“Biofuels production is an important piece of the agriculture economy and I urge the Secretary to use the resources Congress appropriated to support this sector through the financial stress caused by COVID-19,” said Peterson. “The biofuels industry entered this crisis behind the curve following the last few years of disastrous management of the RFS program by the EPA. The biofuels industry is going to need significant support to weather this disaster.”
Dozens of biofuels plants across the country have idled some or all of their production since March 1st. Of the roughly 200 ethanol plants in the U.S., roughly 30 have shut down, and another 80 have reduced production by 50% or more. Biofuels plants consume millions of bushels of grain each year. They also produce low-cost livestock feed products (dried distillers grains) and are a major producer of CO2 gas used by hospitals and food processors.
Chairman Peterson is co-chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress who advocate for homegrown renewable fuel policies that boost farmer incomes and reduce dependence on foreign oil. He is also the sponsor of the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, a bill which provides certainty to the biofuels industry by setting an annual deadline for small refinery exemption applications and bringing transparency to the process.
Full text of the letter can be found here.