As EPA Finalizes Renewable Fuel Standard, Durbin Meets with EPA Administrator McCarthy to Call for Quick Action & a Strong Rule

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works toward finalizing its proposed rule on biofuels volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined seven of his Senate colleagues today to meet with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Today the Senators – who represent a diverse group of states and stakeholders – reiterated their concerns regarding the uncertainty and delays of the RFS rule, and urged McCarthy to set strong renewable volume obligations through 2017.


“The biofuels industry is critically important on several basic levels. It’s about how we move towards energy independence. It’s about how we clean up our environment. And it’s about how we create jobs, including thousands in Illinois,” Durbin said. “Illinois has the capacity to produce more than 160 million gallons of biodiesel. But the industry won’t grow when there is no market certainty. There is no excuse for how long we have waited. It’s time for the Administration to step up and deliver a strong Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014 and beyond.”


Since the EPA first proposed to reduce the renewable volume obligations under the RFS, Durbin has worked with members of Illinois’ agriculture community and biofuels industry to evaluate the potential impact of the proposed waiver. With the support of Illinois and national stakeholders, Durbin has written and met with numerous Administration officials to express his serious concerns regarding the proposal.


In December 2013, Durbin joined a bipartisan group of Senators in a meeting on Capitol Hill with McCarthy to protest the agency’s RFS proposal. The meeting came after Durbin joined thirty-one members of the U.S. Senate in sending a letter to McCarthy, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and former Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to encourage the agencies not to decrease the RFS. That letter is available here.  Durbin sent a similar letter to Burwell which is available here.


In January 2014, Durbin led a bipartisan group of Senators in writing to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the agency to firmly support the future of biofuels and revise its proposed waiver of the RFS. The Senators shared their concerns regarding the proposed rule’s potential impact on our nation’s energy security, the environment, and economic growth, particularly in rural communities. That letter is available here.


In September 2014, Durbin wrote Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan to urge the agency to thoroughly review the proposal, and work toward a final rule that promotes investments in the next generation biofuels and the infrastructure necessary to bring those fuels into the market. The full text of the letter is available here.


In November 2014, the EPA announced that it would not be finalizing the volume standards under the RFS program before the end of 2014, and that that it intends to take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015. Durbin’s statement on the EPA’s announcement is available here. Following that announcement, Durbin led a bipartisan group of 37 senators in writing the EPA to urge the agency to reverse course from the 2014 proposed rule and maintain a strong RFS. That letter is available here.

Earlier this month, Durbin joined Heitkamp and others at a press conference with the National Biodiesel Board to urge the EPA to set strong RFS that provides long-needed certainty to farmers and workers in the biodiesel industry. Video of Durbin’s remarks at the press conference is available here.