Braley Continues Fight for RFS During Final Step of Process PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Monday, 25 August 2014 15:05

As Obama Administration reviews final EPA proposal, Congressman continues his advocacy to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard

Washington, D.C. – Today, ahead of a final review of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by the Obama Administration, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) continued his push to support biofuel production and American energy independence. In a letter to Shaun Donovan, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Braley urged the Obama Administration to expand the RFS, which has created nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs.

On Friday, the EPA, which had originally proposed a cut to the RFS, sent their revised proposal to the OMB, which has 90 days to review the final rule before issuing a final decision.

“This has been a long journey advocating for the RFS, but as this last leg approaches we must not give up the fight,” Braley said. “What it really comes down to is a decision between foreign oil, foreign jobs, and a boost to foreign economies or home grown Iowa energy, Iowa jobs, and billions of dollars added to Iowa’s economy—seems like an easy, commonsense decision to me.”

Since the creation of the RFS in 2005, nearly 10 billion gallons of foreign oil per year have been replaced by renewable fuels—much of it coming from Iowa.

“I urge you to reject any Rule that cuts biofuels, recognizing that this would be detrimental to our nation’s energy supply and consumer choice at the pump,” Braley’s letter reads.

Braley has consistently fought against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed cuts to the RFS-- greatly harming Iowa’s economy and America’s move toward energy independence.

Timeline of Highlights of Rep. Braley’s Action to Protect the RFS

•         April-2013: Wrote to leaders of House Committee on Energy and Commerce, discussing the economic benefits of the RFS and its importance in America’s energy future and invited them to tour bioenergy facilities in Iowa.

•         May-July-2013: Held a series of four educational briefings on the RFS, whose purpose was to educate members of Congress and their staffs on the RFS and its importance to America’s economy and march toward energy independence.

•         June-2013: Introduced Rural Energy Investment Act, which would help develop advanced biofuels, wind and other renewable energy resources and energy efficiency and require the federal government to increase their commitment to purchasing biobased products like cleaners, lubricants, building materials, and other industrial products by 50 percent—and reduce the use of products made with Middle East oil.

•         July-2013: Participated in Congressional committee hearing entitled: “Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Stakeholder Perspectives,” which included panelists involved in the production of biofuels and the importance of biofuels to Iowa and the nation’s economy. Panel included Iowa native and former National Corn Grower president Pam Johnson.

•         August-2013: Toured the POET Biorefinery in Hanlontown, IA and met with employees to discuss Iowa’s leadership on biofuel innovation and the importance of the RFS.

•         November-2013: Sent a letter to Farm Bill conference committee encouraging them to include an Energy Title that supports renewable fuel efforts.

•         November-2013: Toured the BioProcess Algae plant in Shenandoah, Iowa to visit with workers and see how ethanol byproducts, such as carbon dioxide, are being used to promote algae growth for use in advancements in a variety of industries.

•         November-2013: Sent a letter to President Obama regarding the negative economic impact and shortsightedness of lowering the RFS.

•         November-2013: Co-hosted a Congressional briefing with Rep. Steve King, and ISU professor Bruce Babcock as a panelist, in order to inform Congressional offices of the negative economic impact of lowering the RFS.

•         November-2013: Sent a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy, USDA Secretary Vilsack, and OMB Director Burwell in support of an increase in the biodiesel volume requirement in the RFS.

•         November-2013: Sent a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy urging the Administrator to review the draft proposal for the RFS volume obligations and support an RFS that will support innovation and economic growth, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

•         December-2013: Asked Iowans to share their stories of the positive impact the RFS had had on their lives, careers, and communities—later submitting their stories to the EPA during the open comment period.

•         December-2013: Testified in opposition to the reduction at an EPA field hearing in Washington—stressing the economic benefits of the RFS including the value added markets and innovation that come from increased biofuel production. Hearing included other Iowa elected officials (Branstad, Reynolds, and Grassley).

•         January-2014: Met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to convey the RFS’s impact on Iowa’s economy and America’s energy independence.

•         January-2014: Joined veterans with VoteVets.org to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the EPA in opposition to changing the RFS.

•         March-2014: Met with senior White House Advisor John Podesta and Dan Utech, the White House’s top climate advisor, to discuss Iowa’s position as a world leader in innovation in wind and biofuel energy production, and the important role the RFS played in that innovation.

•         May-2014: Met with House Congressional leaders and senior White House advisor John Podesta to emphasize the need to protect the RFS in order to spur domestic economic growth and enhance America’s energy independence.

•         June-2014: Wrote to the EPA Inspector General General Elkins requesting that he investigate the process involved in crafting the RFS proposal—after reports that there may have been inappropriate lobbying efforts made to lower the RFS standard.  The letter echoed a request made by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)—a nonpartisan group dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government.

•         July-2014: Sponsored an educational briefing with Republican Rep. Lee Terry (NE-02) for Members of Congress and their staffs on the importance of the RFS in lowering gas prices and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

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