A bipartisan group of 24 U.S. senators sent a letter to President Trump urging him to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard and reject oil industry efforts to waive renewable fuel blending obligations.
The letter was signed by Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Gary Peters, D-Mich.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Josh Hawley, R-Mo.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; M. Michael Rounds, R-S.D.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; John Thune, R-S.D.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Jerry Moran, R-Kansas; Marian Cantwell, D-Wash., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.
“We applaud these senators for fighting to protect the livelihood of American farmers and the 350,000 jobs supported by the U.S. ethanol industry,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “These senators recognize that recent waiver requests are nothing more than a shameless attempt by oil refiners to seize on a global public health crisis to advance their long-standing political agenda. Now is not the time to abandon this vital policy, especially when so many jobs are on the line in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis.”
“Now, more than ever, we need leaders to stand up for rural America and deliver the urgent relief our industry needs to protect biofuel jobs and their vital role in the agricultural supply chain – from producing animal feed for livestock operations to carbon dioxide for meatpackers and municipal water treatment,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.
“An RFS waiver would simply prevent biofuel producers, farmers and other agricultural sectors from fully sharing in any economic recovery this year,” said Kurt Kovarik, National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs. “RFS requirements do not contribute to the crisis, because they are set as percentages that rise and fall in direct proportion with transportation fuel demand.”
“We need to maintain markets, not take them away,” said Kevin Ross, Iowa farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association. “With the significant shut down of ethanol production already reducing corn demand and impacting corn prices, unjustified requests to undermine the RFS would bring more economic harm to agriculture”
As of May 6, about half of the nation’s ethanol production capacity was offline and nearly three-quarters of the nation’s ethanol plants were idled or had reduced output.
The American Petroleum Institute has petitioned the EPA to reconsider and revise the final RFS Standards for 2020 and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021. The governors of Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Wyoming are asking the Trump administration to waive the RFS.
In a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler last month, RFA pointed out that RFS waiver requests do not satisfy statutory requirements.