A bipartisan group of 24 U.S. senators sent a letter to President Trump this week that strongly urges him to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard and reject oil industry efforts to waive renewable fuel blending obligations.
The effort was led by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). They expressed their concerns in response to the oil industry efforts to waive renewable fuel blending obligations.
“Waiving the RFS would cause further harm to the U.S. economy, especially our most vulnerable rural communities. It would also exacerbate the effects experienced by the biofuel sector as a result of COVID-19, causing far-reaching detrimental impacts on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment. The resiliency of America’s renewable fuel industry has already suffered as a result of the EPA’s drastic expansion of the small refinery waiver program in recent years.”
“We join these leaders in asking the administration to stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has promoted energy diversity, strengthened the heartland’s economy, reduced emissions, and lowered consumer fuel costs for a decade and a half,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Now is not the time to abandon this vital policy, especially when so many jobs are on the line in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis. We are truly grateful that these senators understand that.”
Cooper noted that, as of Wednesday, roughly half of the ethanol industry’s production capacity remained offline, and nearly three-quarters of the nation’s ethanol plants were fully idled or had greatly reduced output rates.
“Ethanol plant closures don’t just affect our nation’s fuel supply; they also affect the supply of other critical products made by the industry, such as high-protein feed for livestock and poultry producers and captured carbon dioxide, which is an important product for food and beverage processing and other industries. Shutting down, or even slowing down, our diverse product line has significant ripple effects throughout the entire U.S. economy.”