Durbin Calls On EPA To Move Quickly On Renewable Fuel Standard Proposal

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following a meeting with leading biofuels coalition Fuels America, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move expeditiously in setting production levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014, and to move ahead on these levels for 2015 and 2016. A photo of today’s meeting will be available shortly here.

Earlier this week, Durbin joined a bipartisan group of 32 Senators in pressing the EPA to live up to its legal obligation to provide certainty to the biofuels industry and the thousands of workers it employs by setting long-delayed production standards. Since the EPA first announced a proposed change to the volume standards under the RFS program in late 2013, Durbin has worked with members of Illinois’ agriculture community and biofuels industry to evaluate the potential impact of the proposed waiver, and to develop a better alternative.

“The Administration’s efforts last year to change the Renewable Fuel Standard missed the mark,” Durbin said. “Delaying the proposal gave the Administration the opportunity to work with agriculture and industry stakeholders to get this rule right. But further delays will only bring additional uncertainty to our national biofuels industry and the thousands of jobs it supports – including 5,400 in Illinois. I am committed to working with the Administration, Illinois stakeholders, and my Congressional colleagues on finding a better alternative, and finding it quickly.”


In November 2014, the EPA announced that it would not be finalizing the volume standards under the RFS program before the end of 2014. The EPA announced today that it intends to take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015. Durbin’s statement on the EPA’s announcement 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. In the letter, Durbin reiterated his serious concerns regarding the EPA proposal to reduce the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS. The full text of the letter 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 December 2013, Durbin joined a bipartisan group of Senators in a meeting on Capitol Hill with McCarthy to protest the agency’s RFS proposal. In November, Durbin also 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 encouraging the agencies not to decrease the RFS. That letter is available here. In late October, Durbin sent a similar letter to Burwell which is available here.