Senators Call for RFS Revision

Following last week’s letter from members of the House – a bipartisan group of 31 Senators sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to urge the agency to make changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard 2014 rule. The Senators express serious concerns regarding the proposal for the Renewable Volume Obligations. They write that Congress passed the RFS to increase the amount of renewable fuel utilized in the nation’s fuel supply. They say the proposal to set the biodiesel target below current industry production levels at 1.28-billion gallons and reduce the total biofuels target to 15.2-billion gallons is a significant step backward – undermining the goal of increasing biofuels production as a domestic alternative to foreign oil consumption. If the rule is adopted as proposed – the Senators say 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; undermine the deployment of renewable fuels infrastructure throughout the country; and threaten the viability of the RFS – thereby solidifying an oil-based transportation sector and lowering consumer choice at the pump. With those concerns in mind – the Senators request a revision to 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. The Senators say without a revised proposal – the EPA’s rule will bring severe economic consequences and prevent the growth of the renewable fuel sector.

Iowa’s Chuck Grassley was among those signing the letter. He says the progress made toward energy diversity and independence will slip away if the EPA succeeds. Grassley says this letter shows that nearly one-third of the U.S. Senate believes the proposal needs revision. He says the President – as a supporter of biofuels – should weigh in as needed.

The letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy was signed by 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), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), 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).

Coats and Donnelly Both Sign On