Biofuels Caucus requests meeting with EPA administrator

Source: By Jacqui Fatka, Farm Progress • Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2021

The bipartisan Congressional Biofuels Caucus extended an invitation to meet with EPA Administrator Michael Regan to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard and other biofuels priorities.

In a letter to Regan, the members urged the administrator to maximize the benefits of the RFS, particularly given the statutory shift that requires the agency to determine Renewable Volumes Obligations starting in 2023 with consultation with the secretary of energy and secretary of agriculture.

“We implore you to work across agencies to build on existing programs and policies that seek new opportunities that will promote the growth in the usage of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends,” the letter states.

The letter says biofuels are an integral part of sound environmental policy that serves to keep and create home-grown jobs and generates demand for American farmers. A recent report found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46% lower than gasoline.

“The role of biofuels provides a compelling story that must be utilized to achieve carbon emission reduction goals. Biofuels producers need to be included in any climate conversation, and rural America must not be left behind,” the legislators add.

In an exclusive interview with Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., co-chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, he notes there is strong support on both sides of the aisle for the RFS. He says as of now, there’s not enough known on how the Biden administration will tackle issues important to the biofuels sector.

He says the Trump administration could be a little “Jekyll and Hyde” on biofuels as it balanced the internal competition of the Oklahoma and Texas oil guys fighting with farm and corn state Republicans. Johnson says similarly within the Democratic Party and Democrat-controlled White House, it’s unknown who’s going to win.

“Is it going to be farm state Democrats or is it going to be more pure environmentalists,” Johnson questions.

He notes the fact that biofuels are 46% less carbon intensive than gasoline points to biofuels being a big part of the climate solution. He says there are some purists who don’t like half measures and they may be better positioned to win in this White House.

“That’s unfortunate. But we’re going to keep doing what we can to build coalitions, because I think biofuels are a big part of the solution,” Johnson says.