Durbin Releases Statement On EPA Decision Not To Move Forward With Renewable Fuel Standard Proposal

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would not be finalizing the volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program before the end of 2014. Since the EPA announced the proposed rule more than a year ago, Durbin has worked with members of Illinois’ agriculture community and biofuels industry to evaluate the potential impact of the proposed waiver. The EPA announced today that it intends to take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015.

“More than a year ago, the Administration proposed the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard that seriously missed the mark. The methodology and volume levels in the proposed rule would have undermined our nation’s progress toward domestic energy independence, and threatened the thousands of jobs supported by our biofuels industry – including 5,400 in Illinois,” Durbin said. “Over the last year, I worked with Illinois stakeholders to urge the Administration to develop a better alternative to this flawed rule. Putting off a decision on the Renewable Fuel Standard for another year will not move our biofuels industry forward – but unlike the proposed rule, it won’t set it back. The Administration’s action today acknowledges that more work must be done to get this rule right. I encourage them to work with agriculture and industry stakeholders to develop and expeditiously move forward on a proposed rule that supports investment and growth in our nation’s biofuels industry.”

In September, 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 can be accessed here. In late October, Durbin sent a similar letter to Burwell which can be accessed here.