Durbin Statement on the EPA's Final Rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today made the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule to establish the renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Durbin was briefed on the announcement by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy earlier today. The Renewable Fuels Standard was created by Congress more than ten years ago to drive growth in the biofuels industry.


“I am disappointed that the biofuels volume requirements announced by the EPA today are not higher, but thanks to input from thousands of farmers and industry partners, this rule is much stronger than the original proposal,” said Durbin. “I will continue working with Illinois stakeholders to ensure that our state is in a position to take advantage of federal resources to support the biofuels industry.”


In September, USDA awarded Illinois $11,979,912 in federal funding through the new Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). Through this program, the USDA made $100 million available in grants to states like Illinois that are testing innovative ways to distribute higher blends of renewable fuel. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is using this funding to expand biofuels infrastructure in the state by 428 pumps at 65 fueling stations.  Durbin and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) wrote a letter of support for Illinois’ application to the program earlier this year.


Since the EPA first announced a proposed change to the volume standards under the RFS program in late 2013, Durbin has led bipartisan efforts in Congress to revise the rule and better support the biofuels industry. Just last month, Durbin joined twelve of his Senate colleagues in a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. During the meeting, the Senators – who represent a diverse group of states and stakeholders – called for strong renewable volume obligations through 2017 to support homegrown ethanol production. Durbin has also 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.