Walz urges Biden to support biofuels through 2 executive orders

Source: By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Monday, February 15, 2021

Gov. Tim Walz, chair of the Governors’ Biofuel Coalition, on Feb. 10 sent a letter to President Biden urging him to issue executive orders banning the use of aromatics in gasoline and adopting new Renewable Fuel Standard regulations.

“As you begin your critical work to address climate change and promote economic opportunity, I encourage you to work with states on making biofuels a key component of addressing transportation sector emissions,” Walz wrote. “Biofuels are especially important in the near term as we begin the necessary transition into a carbon-neutral transportation sector. And they provide significant opportunity for economic growth and investment across rural America.”

Walz said two key administrative actions would help ensure the future of the states’ biofuels community, which he said is currently threatened by trade wars, the litigious petroleum industry, and shrinking demand caused by the pandemic.

First, Walz is urging Biden to consider executive action directing the enforcement of the Clean Air Act’s aromatics provision. “That provision, which has been largely unenforced for decades, requires the reduction of toxic gasoline aromatics, replaced with cleaner octane additives,” Walz wrote.

“Reducing aromatics would lessen the fine particulate emissions associated with respiratory diseases,” he continued. “Enforcement of the aromatics provision would also create well-paying jobs and eliminate gasoline’s most carbon intensive component. This order would expand the market for ethanol by a projected twofold increase, a key to our collective efforts to revitalize jobs and encourage economic growth in rural America.”

Second, Walz is calling on Biden to adopt new RFS regulations. “The [RFS] is one of Congress’s most significant energy policy accomplishments,” Walz wrote. “However, the RFS’s waiver provision has been used by billion-dollar companies to obtain inappropriate blending waivers that have severely damaged the nation’s biofuels industry. The most harmful abuse—the manipulation of the RFS’s small refinery exemption—is but one of several ways the regulations have been distorted to keep the RFS from meeting its full potential. I would welcome an opportunity to work with you and your Administration on RFS regulations to ensure that they create the positive impact that was intended.”

According to Walz, the two executive actions would provide much needed stability in rural America and provide countless benefits to all Americans. He is also encouraging Biden to support the effort led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, to create a renewable fuel infrastructure grant program and to streamline underground storage tank regulations.

A full copy of the letter is available on Walz’s website.