Grassley, Bipartisan Senators Reject Legality of Waiving the RFS, Call on Administration to Protect Biofuels
May 07, 2020
“We urge you to direct the EPA to reject all calls to waive the RFS. The RFS is more important now than ever as farmers, the biofuel sector, and rural America struggle to remain operating amid the COVID-19 crisis.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined a bipartisan letter with Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in urging the Trump administration to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and reject requests for the RFS to be waived.
The senators explain the importance of upholding the RFS, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, which has already caused harm to the biofuels community, and the detrimental impacts a waiver would have on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices and the environment.
“Waiving the RFS would cause further harm to the U.S. economy, especially our most vulnerable rural communities. It would also exacerbate the effects experienced by the biofuel sector as a result of COVID-19, causing far-reaching detrimental impacts on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment. The resiliency of America’s renewable fuel industry has already suffered as a result of the EPA’s drastic expansion of the small refinery waiver program in recent years,” the senators wrote.
“Recent requests for a waiver of the RFS are unjustified and clearly do not satisfy the rigorous requirements necessary for EPA consideration. RFS waivers can only be granted by EPA if there is a demonstration of ‘severe harm’ to the economy or environment of a state, region or the United States that is directly caused by the RFS. None of these standards are met today and the following reasons clearly demonstrate the case for rejecting the waiver requests…”
“Corn farmers appreciate Senators Ernst, Smith, Grassley and Stabenow leading this effort in support of farmers and the RFS,” Kevin Ross, Iowa farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) said. “We need to maintain markets, not take them away. With the significant shut down of ethanol production already reducing corn demand and impacting corn prices, unjustified requests to undermine the RFS would bring more economic harm to agriculture. Corn farmers thank the Senators for sending a clear message to reject attempts to waive RFS requirements and make a difficult situation worse.”
“We’re grateful to our champions who are standing shoulder to shoulder with rural communities confronting a wave of biofuel plant closures, farm bankruptcies, and demand destruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO said. “The oil industry’s transparent attempts to capitalize on the current health crisis to steal markets from farmers and biofuel producers threatens to dash hopes of an economic recovery in America’s farm belt. Our lawmakers and governors have made it clear that any move to further weaken biofuel markets is a non-starter, and we urge the administration to swiftly reject oil-backed attacks on the RFS. Now, more than ever, we need leaders to stand up for rural America and deliver the urgent relief our industry needs to protect biofuel jobs and their vital role in the agricultural supply chain – from producing animal feed for livestock operations to carbon dioxide for meatpackers and municipal water treatment.”
This letter is part of Grassley’s continued efforts to support Iowa’s biofuels community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Grassley joined his colleagues in calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide additional funds to the biofuels industry through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which was bolstered by the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package.
Full text of the letter can be found HERE.