Biofuels industry, farmers advocate against Loudermilk amendment

By Erin Voegele | July 07, 2015

On July 2, a group of two dozen biofuel trade groups and companies issued a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to reject an proposals that amend, repeal, defund or otherwise modify or interfere with the renewable fuels standard (RFS). A similar letter was issued by the American Farm Bureau Federation on July 6.

Both letters specifically target an amendment Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., has indicated he hopes to add to the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, H.R. 2822, to defund the U.S. EPA’s implementation of the RFS. The U.S. House of Representatives was scheduled to address the bill on July 7.

“The EPA is in the middle of a rulemaking process setting volumetric targets for 2014-2016 that would be derailed by this amendment,” said the biofuel groups in the July 2 letter. “Any changes will destabilize the regulatory and policy environment, chilling the investment that drives innovation in the biofuel space, preventing the adoption of cleaner alternatives, and protecting the oil industry’s monopoly over our transportation fuel.”

The letter from the biofuel groups explains that the RFS ensures market access for biofuels in the transportation fuel section, which is otherwise a monopoly for the oil sector. It also indicates the RFS has guided billions of dollars from around the world toward innovation in the sector, helped reduce foreign oil imports by 25 percent, and has saved the American consumer the average of $1 per gallon over its program’s lifetime. In addition, the RFS helps cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“We urge you to reject the Loudermilk amendment and any other proposed legislative changes to the RFS,” said the biofuel groups in the letter. “These misguided efforts will halt our nation’s progress in reducing our reliance on foreign oil in our transportation fuel supply, negatively impacting our economy, hurting American farmers and resulting in higher gas prices over time.”

The July 2 letter was signed by Abengoa Bioenergy, the American Council on Renewable Energy, Archer Daniels Midland Co., the American Coalition for Ethanol, the Advanced Ethanol Council, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the American Security Project, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, DSM, Dupont; the Energy Future Coalition, Growth Energy, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monsanto, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union, NexSteppe, Novozymes, Poet, the Renewable Fuels Association, Syngenta Enogen, and the 25’x’25 Alliance.

The Letter from the American Farm Bureau Federation also asks members of the House to reject any proposals that amend, repeal, defund or otherwise modify or interfere with the RFS.  “Renewable fuels have been a tremendous success story for the nation as a whole and to our rural economy in particular,” said the Farm Bureau in its letter. “The RFS has reduced our country’s dependence on foreign oil, reduced air pollution, increased farm incomes and has provided good paying jobs within rural America.” The letter also stresses Farm Bureau members have clearly enunciated support for the RFS as adopted in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. “Dismantling the RFS will stifle innovation, discourage diversification of our fuel supplies and lead to economic harm to rural America,” the letter concludes. “Farm Bureau respectfully requests that you reject the Loudermilk amendment and any other proposed legislative changes to the RFS.”