Durbin, Duckworth Join Bipartisan Letter Urging EPA To Strengthen Renewable Fuel Standard

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and a bipartisan group of 14 colleagues in sending a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging EPA to raise Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels to levels that are consistent with production and availability. 

“America’s environmental and energy security depend on the widespread production, availability, and use of biofuels. Biofuels play a particularly critical role in emissions reduction for heavy-duty transportation — including aviation, shipping, rail, and trucking — while opening up economic opportunities for American farmers. A strong RFS and broad availability of homegrown agricultural feedstocks are critical for ensuring we keep up the progress we have made in decarbonizing our roads, seas, railways, and skies,” wrote the lawmakers. 

“Since the volumes were set last summer, RIN values have decreased by an average of 66 percent, sending a discouraging market signal to farmers, feedstock producers, biofuel producers, blenders and investors. Domestic fuel production facilities are closing as a result, putting Americans out of work and disrupting local economies. The negative signal to renewable fuel producers threatens billions of dollars of investment in feedstock and fuel production, including for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Without EPA action, America will miss out on the carbon reductions delivered by advanced biofuels,” continued the lawmakers. 

In addition to Durbin, Duckworth, Klobuchar and Grassley, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Gary Peters (D-MI).


Last year, Durbin and Duckworth joined a bipartisan letter urging the EPA to strengthen the RFS by maintaining the blending requirements for 2023; denying all pending Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs); eliminating proposed retroactive cuts to the renewable volume obligations (RVOs); and setting RFS volumes at the statutory levels.

In February 2024, Durbin and Duckworth joined a group of 40 bipartisan members of Congress in urging the Biden Administration to act quickly to ensure that the model used to determine eligibility for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) tax credits unlocks the potential held by farmers, ethanol producers, and airlines to reduce carbon emissions from aviation. 


In 2023, Durbin and Duckworth signed on as cosponsors of bipartisan legislation to make E15 available year-round. The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2023 would enable the year-round, nationwide sale of ethanol blends higher than 10 percent, helping to lower fuel prices and provide certainty in fuel markets for farmers and consumers. 

The full text of the letter is available HERE.