Grassley, Harkin Join Bipartisan Group in Calling on EPA to Revise Renewable Fuel Standard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:15

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin today were among a bipartisan group of 31 Senators who sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy. The letter is part of an ongoing effort to urge the agency to make changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) 2014 rule.  The Senators share concerns that the EPA’s proposed rule will discourage investment and hurt job growth and rural communities across the country.  

   

“The EPA is proposing a major step that reverses the momentum on biofuels,” said Grassley. “The progress made toward energy diversity and independence will slip away if the EPA succeeds.  The sentiment from almost one-third of the U.S. Senate is the proposal needs revision. We want the EPA to reconsider.  The President as a supporter of biofuels should weigh in as needed.”    

   

“The intent of the RFS is to steadily increase contributions from biofuels in our transportation fuels markets to enhance our nation’s energy security, protect the environment, and create jobs,” said Harkin. “The proposed rule, requiring less biofuel in 2014 than in 2013, goes against this intent and is a significant step backward.”  

   

The EPA’s proposed rule would set the biodiesel target at 1.28 billion gallons, which is below current industry production levels of around 1.7 billion gallons.  It would also reduce the total biofuels target to 15.2 billion gallons.  This is 1.34 billion gallons below the 2013 target of 16.55 billion gallons, and almost 3 billion gallons below the 2014 statutory target of 18.15 billion gallons. 

The following Senators also signed on to the letter: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Max Baucus (D-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Udall (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The full text of the letter is below:

January 22, 2014

The Honorable Gina McCarthy

EPA Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

We are writing to share serious concerns regarding the EPA’s proposal for the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS.) Congress passed the RFS to increase the amount of renewable fuel utilized in our nation’s fuel supply. The Administration’s proposal is a significant step backward – undermining the goal of increasing biofuels production as a domestic alternative to foreign oil consumption. Further, the proposed waiver places at risk both the environmental benefits from ongoing development of advanced biofuels and rural America’s economic future. We urge you to modify your proposal.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) provides the EPA with significant authority to adjust to shifting conditions over the 15-year life of the policy. In any given year, EPA can adjust the advanced biofuel and total biofuel volumes based on anticipated production. While EPA has used the authority to adjust biofuels levels in the past based on anticipated production levels, your proposal, for the first time, adjusts the 2014 overall volumes based on criteria not clearly identified in the law below anticipated production levels of biofuels and even below previous years’ RFS levels. 

Further, defining the “blend wall” as blends of E10 and then waiving RFS requirements beyond the blend wall creates significant barriers to future biofuels growth. Lack of infrastructure remains one of the key hurdles to further deployment of biofuels into the market. Limiting RFS to levels that can be met with existing infrastructure eliminates incentives to invest in the technologies and infrastructure necessary to meet our domestic policy goal of increasing biofuels production and use.

If the rule as proposed were adopted, it will:

  • Replace domestic biofuel production with fossil fuels, contributing to a greater dependence on foreign sources of oil and reduce our energy security.
  • Increase unemployment as renewable fuel producers cut back production.
  • Halt investments in cellulosic, biodiesel and other advanced renewable fuels. Rolling back the RFS will, potentially strand billions of dollars of private capital;
  • Undermine the deployment of renewable fuels infrastructure throughout the country;
  • Threaten the viability of the RFS, thereby solidifying an oil-based transportation sector and lowering consumer choice at the pump.

With these concerns in mind, we request that EPA revise the proposed 2014 RVOs in a manner that promotes investments in the next generation of biofuels and the infrastructure necessary to deploy those fuels into the market. Without a revised proposal, the EPA’s rule will bring severe economic consequences, and prevent the growth of the renewable fuel sector.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

-30-

 


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