Durbin Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators in Calling on EPA to Establish a Strong Renewable Fuel Standard
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in calling for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares to finalize its proposed rule on biofuels volume requirements for 2017 under the RFS. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the senators urged the agency for a strong RFS that will support U.S. jobs and the economy, reduce the environmental impact of the transportation and energy sectors, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
“The biofuel industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the country, reduces the environmental impact of our transportation and energy sectors, and cuts our reliance on foreign oil,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you to ensure that the final rule promote growth in the U.S. biofuel sector and capture economic opportunity rather than drive investment overseas.”
The bipartisan letter to the EPA was also signed by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Pat Roberts (R-KA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jerry Moran (R-KA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
Last year, Senator Durbin met with Administrator McCarthy, urging her to set strong renewable volume obligations through 2017. Durbin has worked closely with members of Illinois’ agriculture community and biofuels industry to evaluate the potential impact of setting low volume requirements. With the support of Illinois stakeholders, Senator Durbin has met with Administration officials to share his concerns regarding the rule’s potential impact on America’s energy independence, the environment, and economic growth.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
We are writing regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule setting blending targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2017. We urge you to ensure that the final rule promote growth in the U.S. biofuel sector and capture economic opportunity rather than drive investment overseas.
When Congress adopted the RFS in 2005, and expanded it in 2007, it intended to put in place a stable, forward-looking policy to drive innovation and investments in biorefining capacity and distribution infrastructure to bring biofuels to American consumers.
The stability of the policy has led to hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in the biofuels sector. America’s production capacity has expanded more than threefold since 2005 with fuels such as biodiesel, cellulosic, recycled-waste, algal and other advanced biofuels. The biofuel industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the country, reduces the environmental impact of our transportation and energy sectors, and cuts our reliance on foreign oil.
As a result of the Agency’s consideration of distribution infrastructure when setting the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for 2014, 2015, and 2016, contrary to the clearly defined waiver authority provided by Congress, biofuel investment has fallen and projects are moving overseas.
We cannot afford to cede our leadership position in the world. A strong RFS, and more biofuels, make our country more secure. It increases competition and choice, strengthening our economy. We urge you to take the opportunity to get the program back on track by setting blending targets where Congress intended and by removing the distribution waiver.
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