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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE May 28, 2020

Governors Ask Senate and House Leadership to Support Ethanol Relief Bills

 South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz Say Ethanol Industry is Facing Historic Crisis

Today, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz sent a letter to Senate and House leadership urging them to ensure that relief for the biofuels industry is included in phase 4 of the covid-19 emergency relief package that is currently making its way through Congress.  Governor Noem and Governor Walz are the chair and vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

The dire conditions of the ethanol industry were summarized by the governors. Nearly three-fourths of the nation’s 204 ethanol plants are fully or partially idled, resulting in worker layoffs, lost markets for farm commodities, and constrained supplies of critical ethanol co-products. The ethanol industry estimates it will suffer at least $10 billion in ethanol losses in 2020 due to covid-19.  Rural America — with the ethanol industry’s 350,000 direct and indirect jobs — is facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. “We are heartened that both the House and the Senate are working to mitigate these hardships,” the governors wrote.

Governor Noem and Governor Walz had this to say about Congress’s response:  “We were pleased to see that two bills were recently introduced in both the Senate and House.  The Senate’s Renewable Fuel Feedstock Reimbursement Act of 2020, introduced by Senator Grassley and Senator Klobuchar, and the Renewable Fuel Reimbursement Program provision, included in the HEROS Act passed by the House, provide critical emergency relief to renewable fuel producers.  These initiatives provide responsible and much needed economic relief to the states’ biofuel producers.”

The legislative proposals would allow important agricultural processing facilities to retain their employees, resume production when warranted by market and health conditions, and support farmers by increasing commodity demand.  The governors noted that ethanol producers have also stepped forward to help address the covid-19 public health crisis.  Many facilities are now producing high-grade ethanol used in hand sanitizer.

“The states’ ethanol industry has become an irreplaceable contributor to our nation’s economy, and it must be preserved,” the governors concluded.


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Larry Pearce (Coalition) 402-651-2948

Margaret Hart (Walz) 651-201-6131

Ian Fury (Noem) 605-280-3116

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.