WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) today led a bipartisan group of 36 senators in urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the proposed volumes it set for biodiesel production under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“While the proposal is a positive step for biodiesel, we remain concerned that the proposed biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 fail to adequately recognize the domestic biodiesel industry’s production capacity and its ability to increase production,” the senators wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the RFS to reach commercial scale production nationwide. It is exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005, while creating jobs, generating tax revenues, reducing pollution, and improving energy security. We urge you to support continued growth in the domestic biodiesel industry by making reasonable and sustainable increases in the biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 in the final rule.”
The senators noted that the EPA’s prior delays in setting biodiesel volumes led to tremendous uncertainty and hardship for U.S. biodiesel producers and thousands of their employees, causing reduced production and even shutdowns, leading to layoffs and lost economic productivity.
Also, the agency’s decision earlier this year to allow imports from Argentinean renewable fuel producers to participate in the RFS must be considered, and biodiesel volumes must be set at high enough levels to prevent displacement of domestic production, the senators wrote.
The EPA’s proposed volumes for 2014 through 2017 are expected to become final by November 30, giving the agency an opportunity to increase them before then. The public comment period on the current proposal closes July 27.
The full list of senators who signed the letter is below. The text of the senators’ letter is available here.