Senators Want EPA to Increase Support for Biofuels

A bipartisan group of 19 U.S. Senators recently sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency director Gina McCarthy urging her to continue the trend of increasing support for the nation’s renewable fuel sector.

“We remain concerned that it continues to use distribution infrastructure as a factor in setting blending targets,” wrote the Senators. “The lack of distribution infrastructure was explicitly rejected by Congress as a reason to grant a waiver when the statute was adopted in 2005.”

The Senators are worried about the future of the biofuels program.

“Unfortunately, the final rule did not get the program back on track, and as a result, it is not generating growth in the biofuel sector. Since the proposal was first leaked in the fall of 2013, not a single new cellulosic project has broken ground in the United States and many planned or previously announced projects have been halted,” stated the senators who pointed out that in the meantime, new investments in cellulosic projects are emerging in China, Europe and Brazil.

“The EPA should reverse course and release a rule this year that follows congressional intent. The forthcoming proposal to set blending targets for 2017 is the EPA’s chance to fulfill the commitment that you and Assistant Administrator McCabe made to get the program back no track. We hope you take this opportunity.”

The 19 U.S. Senators include: Charles Grassley, John Thune, Mark Kirk, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Michael Rounds, Roy Blunt, John Hoeven, Amy Klobuchar, Richard Durbin, Al Franken, Heidi Heitkamp, Martin Heinrich, Claire McCaskill, Debbie Stabenow,Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Joe Donnelly and Gary Peters.

Oklahoma U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford were not part of the group.