Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MI) have introduced bipartisan legislation to provide emergency relief to ethanol producers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would allow USDA to reimburse biofuel producers through the Commodity Credit Corporation for their feedstock purchases in the first quarter of this year.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), as of May 19, only 60 of the nation’s 204 ethanol plants were running at normal output rates, with the remaining 144 either completely or partially idled. More than 40 percent of the county’s ethanol production capacity remains offline.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on the U.S. ethanol industry,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “Tens of thousands of good jobs in rural communities are in jeopardy as fuel demand has plummeted and scores of ethanol plants have been forced to shut down. Fortunately, Sens. Grassley and Klobuchar are watching out for the 350,000 men and women whose jobs are supported by the ethanol industry. The legislation they introduced today would lend a vital helping hand and assist renewable fuel producers as they attempt to get back on their feet. We thank Sens. Grassley and Klobuchar for their support and dedication, and we look forward to the inclusion and expeditious passage of emergency relief measures for the ethanol industry in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.”
Last week, the House passed the HEROES Act, which includes the Renewable Fuel Reimbursement Program, that would provide direct assistance to renewable fuel producers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.