House members issue letter in support of the RFS

By Erin Voegele | July 15, 2016

On July 14, 17 members of the House Biofuels Caucus sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the agency to compete its 2017 renewable fuel standard (RFS) rulemaking “in a manner consistent with the Congressional intent to aggressively expand the production of renewable fuels and provide more choices at the pump in the United States.”

The letter highlights progress that has been made by the U.S. renewable fuels industry since the RFS was first established in 2005 and notes America’s farmers, biofuel producers and rural communities have made significant investments to get the industry to where it is today. “We urge the EPA to finalize rule and methodology that fully appreciates this progress,” said the members of Congress in the letter.

“Given the proven track record of innovation and capacity for development in the renewable fuels market, we believe that a final rule that falls short of the conventional biofuel cap will do nothing to assuage critics of the program, while missing an opportunity to refocus on addressing the pressing issues needed to fully realize the potential renewable fuels can make for our economy and energy security,” the letter continues. “We urge you to increase the renewable fuel blending targets in the proposed rule to restore confidence in the RFS and further encourage continued development in this industry.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa; Kristi Noem, R-S.D.; Tim Walz, D-Minn.; Brad Ashford, D-Neb.; Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.; Steve King, R-Iowa; Mark Pocan, D-Wisc.; Rod Blum, R-Iowa; David Young, R-Iowa; Sam Graves, R-Mo.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Richard M. Nolan, D-Minn.; Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Mike Bost, R-Ill.; and Tom Emmer, R-Minn.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association spoke out in support of the letter. “We thank the lawmakers for their leadership to ensure EPA finalizes a strong RFS that gets the program back on track. As the House members wrote, ‘a final rule that falls short of the conventional biofuel cap will do nothing to assuage critics of the program, while missing an opportunity to refocus on addressing the pressing issues needed to fully realize the potential renewable fuels can make for our economy and energy security.’ We couldn’t agree more,” he said. “As we outlined in comments to EPA this week on its proposed 2017 RFS rule, there’s no justification for lowering the conventional biofuel target. Record levels of E10 consumption, broader availability of E15 and E85, more than 2 billion surplus renewable identification numbers and other factors make the statutory requirement readily achievable in 2017. It’s time EPA follows the statutory requirement and increase the conventional biofuel target to 15 billion gallons.”

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, has also spoken out in support of the letter. “The letter explicitly urges EPA to put the RFS program back on track by finalizing blending targets that are in line with Congress’ original intent. The RFS program has successfully grown the biofuels industry in the United States, and finalizing blending targets that satisfy the original statutory requirements will keep that progress intact,” she said. “We commend these members of Congress for supporting progress in the biofuels industry, and protecting America’s security and economy through the RFS. The EPA must return stability to this policy to ensure that we do not turn back the clock on the strides we have made. The RFS improves our environment by reducing harmful emissions and displacing toxic chemicals found in gasoline, creates American jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign oil and gives American consumers a choice of a higher performing, less expensive fuel. The RFS is our nation’s most successful energy policy, and the biofuels industry is an American success story. We thank this bipartisan group of representatives for their commitment to fostering growth in the American biofuels industry, and stand with them in support.”