WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thursday, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), each submitted comments to the Federal Register regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In individual letters to EPA Administrator Wheeler, the senators expressed concerns about the way the agency plans to calculate the reallocation of biofuel gallons lost due to exemptions for oil refineries.
“Just this week, the CEO of a major oil refinery bragged that small refinery exemptions were ‘a real cash flow that [they] get every year.’ This is at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers. The EPA’s proposed rule fails to ensure that 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol are actually blended into our nation’s fuel supply. In my letter, I called on Administrator Wheeler to fulfill the president’s commitment and provide certainty for rural America,” said Senator Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Read her letter here.
“As the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, the renewable fuels industry is an important sector of Iowa’s economy. It generates nearly $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP, over $2.4 billion in household incomes and supports 47,000 jobs across Iowa. President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn’t undercut President Trump’s support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace,” said Senator Grassley. Read his letter here.
“Plain and simple, if the market for biofuels does not trust EPA to implement the proposal President Trump negotiated, the market will not make investments in biofuels – a dangerous spiral for Iowa farmers and producers which will only lead to more plants closed and jobs lost in the heartland. It is time again for EPA to get this policy right, respect the President’s intent, and uphold the law as it was written. This means providing certainty that EPA will ensure that 15 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended each year,” said Senator Joni Ernst, member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Read her letter here.
“While I appreciate the administration’s commitment to restore integrity to the RFS and provide that at least 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels are blended into the fuel supply, the proposed supplemental rule unfortunately lacks safeguards that will assure its intent. As you know, resolution of this matter is of critical importance to agriculture stakeholders in South Dakota and across the country, and I urge EPA to reconsider the incorporation of language to make certain that all gallons waived by SREs will be accounted for in final RVOs.” said Senator Thune. Read his letter here.
“We’re grateful to President Trump for his commitment to assuring 15 billion gallons of ethanol is blended into our fuel supply annually,” said Senator Rounds. “However, the EPA’s proposed rule fails to honor the agreement which the president directed them to formalize. Taking steps to fully restore the integrity of the RFS will honor the agreement as Congress intended.” Read his letter here.
“Missouri farm families have faced a number of challenges over the past year, from catastrophic flooding to market uncertainty and now the EPA’s failure to uphold its commitments to the biofuels industry,” said Senator Blunt. “Renewable energy policies like the RFS have helped diversify our nation’s fuel supply while creating and sustaining jobs, strengthening local economies, and lowering gas prices. I urge the administration to produce a final rule that addresses the concerns my colleagues and I have raised and supports America’s biofuels producers.” Read his letter here.
“The state of Indiana is the fifth largest ethanol producing state in the country,” said U.S. Senator Mike Braun. “I urge the EPA to implement the agreement in a way that provides certainty to Hoosier farmers and refiners.” Read his letter here.
On November 4th, over 60 corn, soybean, and biofuel groups wrote a letter stating that the EPA’s supplemental rule would not accurately account for small refinery exemptions and would hurt farm economies and biofuel plants in rural America. To read their letter, click here.
To submit a comment to the Federal Register, click here.
For more on the RFS, click here.