Biofuels Industry Applauds Senators’ Call to Raise 2017 RFS Levels

Source: By Jeff Barber, OPIS • Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016

A group of U.S. biofuel producers and trade associations on Thursday applauded a letter 19 U.S. senators wrote Wednesday urging the Environmental Protection Agency to increase Renewable Fuel Standard blending targets in 2017.

“We want to thank all 19 senators for highlighting the biofuel industry’s concerns with EPA incorrectly citing distribution infrastructure as a factor in setting the 2014-2016 blending targets and urging the agency to reverse course for the 2017 rule by simply following congressional intent. That is the very heart of why we and other biofuel groups filed a lawsuit in January against EPA,” the group said.

The letter was signed by Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, POET Inc., the National Corn Growers Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the Advanced Biofuels Business Council and Archer Daniels Midland.

“Getting the RFS back to the statutory levels Congress intended is critical in moving our nation forward to energy independence by using cleaner burning, homegrown biofuels, like ethanol, which reduce harmful emissions and our reliance on foreign oil imports. As important, returning to the statutory levels intended by Congress will provide the necessary certainty producers need to move forward with critical business decisions,” the group wrote.

“We appreciate the steadfast commitment of these senators to ensure the RFS is enacted as originally envisioned and encourage the EPA to heed the recommendations of these senators, to indeed get the RFS ‘back on track’ as the agency has promised,” the group added.

The letter, signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and 17 other mostly Midwest senators, applauded EPA for its November decision to increase renewable fuel volumes for 2014-2016 above levels that it had proposed in May. But the senators told the agency that they “remain concerned that it continues to use distribution infrastructure as a factor in setting blending targets. The lack of distribution infrastructure was explicitly rejected by Congress as a reason to grant a waiver when the statute was adopted in 2005.”

EPA “should reverse course and release a rule this year that follows congressional intent. The forthcoming proposal to set blending targets for 2017 is the EPA’s chance to fulfill the commitment that you … made to get the program back on track. We hope you take this opportunity,” the senators said.

“A strong RFS makes our country more energy secure, increases competition and consumer choice in our transportation sector, and ultimately strengthens our economy. We need a strong RFS and we need more biofuels. We expect that you will get the program ‘back on track,’ and we look forward to seeing a proposed rule released on time that removes the distribution waiver and re-establishes the United States as a leader in the biofuel sector,” the letter said.