IRFA issues open letters to Sanders, Cruz on RFS, ethanol

Source: By Iowa Renewable Fuels Association • Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association on Aug. 27 issued open letters to Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. The letter to Sanders urges him to rethink his support for the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, while the letter to Cruz asks him to revisit his stance on ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Sanders hosted a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Aug. 29 focused on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. “As you discuss the importance of the working-class, especially in rural areas that have often been forgotten by those in Washington D.C., we hope you won’t forget your past commitment to utilizing biofuels in the fight to lower tailpipe and carbon emissions,” the IRFA said in its letter.

The letter focuses on Sanders’ support of the Zero-Emissions Vehicles Act, which would begin a phased-in ban on the sale of vehicles that can run on biofuels starting in 2025. “Such a drastic, short-sighted policy not only hurts domestically grown biofuels, but could even lead to higher, not lower, carbon emissions,” the IRFA wrote, stressing that flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) that can run on E85 are cleaner and better for the environment than electric vehicles (EVs) charged in states like Minnesota or Missouri that are primarily powered by coal.

“Furthermore, with continued improvements in farming and processing, by the end of this decade ethanol could have a carbon negative footprint, which is something EVs won’t ever be able to claim,” the IRFA continued.

The letter references Sanders’ support of biofuels during the 2016 presidential election, when he called ethanol “and economic lifeline to rural and farm communities in Iowa and throughout the Midwest.”

“We hope by the end of your trip to Iowa you’ll remember that biofuels, and the nearly 40,000 jobs it supports in Iowa, are a key part of economic revival in rural America while providing one of the best solutions for reducing our carbon footprint today and in the future,” the IRFA concluded.

Cruz also made a stop in Iowa during the final weekend of August. His visit aimed to assist GOP campaign efforts. The open letter to Cruz, authored by the IRFA and Iowa Corn Growers Association, calls out Cruz on his recent request to the U.S. EPA urging the agency to retroactively lower the RFS levels for 2020, which ignores “that the law automatically adjusts for unexpected changes in fuel demand, such as was brought on by COVID-19.”

“But as you return to Iowa, we hope that your previous commitment to ‘more market access for ethanol’ will return as well,” the groups wrote. “Excuse us if we don’t just take your ‘word’ for it this time. We urge you to take concrete action. Cosponsor the Sen. Chuck Grassley legislation that restores year-round market access for E15. Let retailers, not Washington, decide whether or not to offer the fuel. Let consumers, not Washington, decide whether or not to buy the fuel. And then publicly work to get the fix into the infrastructure package or any other legislation that is moving. In short, Sen. Cruz you have an opportunity to keep your word to Iowans. We will be watching.”

Full copies of both letters are available on the IRFA website.