Durbin: Protecting Investments in Agriculture, Biofuels Is Key to Rural Economy, Jobs
Meets with Illinois Soybean Association, hosts call with Illinois agriculture and biofuels industry stakeholders to discuss RFS and Farm Bill
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today hosted a conference call with members of Illinois’ agriculture community and biofuels industry to discuss the potential impact of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to reduce the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Earlier today, Durbin also met with representatives of the Illinois Soybean Association to discuss the RFS and other agricultural policy priorities, including a full five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill.
Participants on today’s phone call included representatives from: Illinois Corn Growers, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, National Corn to Ethanol Research Center, and Illinois biofuels producers. A photo of Durbin’s meeting with the Illinois Soybean Association is available here.
During today’s call, Durbin reiterated his opposition to the proposed waiver and stated his commitment to working with his Congressional colleagues and Illinois’ industry stakeholders to improve the proposal. “The Administration’s proposed change to the Renewable Fuel Standard proposal would not only undermine our nation’s progress toward domestic energy independence, it would also threaten the thousands of jobs supported by our biofuels industry – including 5,400 in Illinois. Today, I heard from key Illinois’ stakeholders, and their message was clear: unless it is improved, this proposal will negatively impact our economy, our energy goals, and our environment. I am committed to working with my Congressional colleagues on finding a better alternative.”
Last week, Durbin joined with thirty-one members of the U.S. Senate in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell encouraging the agencies not to decrease the RFS. That letter can be accessed here. In late October, Durbin sent a similar letter to Burwell which can be accessed here.
In today’s meeting with the Illinois Soybean Association, Durbin also discussed the importance of passing a full, five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill. In October, conferees were appointed to serve on the House-Senate Conference Committee tasked with resolving differences between the House and Senate-passed Farm Bills.
“This summer – for the second year in a row – the Senate passed a bipartisan Farm Bill that would give Illinois farmers the certainty they need to begin planning for next year. And – for the second year in a row – the House failed to do the same. Now, there is no excuse. It is past time for the House to drop their partisan approach and come to the table to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that makes key investments in energy and research, ensures that programs are in place to help our rural communities grow and thrive, and provides food assistance for those most in need, at home and abroad.,” Durbin said.
On June 10, 2013, the Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 which would save roughly $24 billion over the next 10 years compared to pre-sequestration budget levels. The bipartisan Senate-passed Farm Bill would make significant reforms to American agriculture policy by ending four different commodity subsidy programs and replacing them with more market-driven programs that make payments when farmers experience a loss.
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