WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa joined Patty Murray of Washington, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota in leading a bipartisan group of 35 other senators urging EPA to increase volume obligations for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel and ensure any small refiner economic hardship exemptions are appropriately accounted for in its final rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). EPA’s June 2018 proposal would raise the biomass-based diesel volume for 2020 to 2.43 billion gallons and increase the advanced biofuel volume for 2019 to 4.88 billion gallons.


“While these proposed increases are encouraging, these volumes continue to underestimate the existing potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states. We believe the biodiesel industry can do more and that EPA should demonstrate more confidence in the RFS program’s ability to drive growth. Increasing biomass-based diesel and advance biofuel volumes would encourage investment in capacity and new fuel development. Further, EPA must accurately account for small refiner economic hardship exemptions in the final rule,” the senators wrote.


“It is critical that EPA appropriately account for any small refiner economic hardship exemptions that it reasonably expects to grant during the 2019 compliance year in the final rule, or EPA will not be able to fulfill its duty to ensure RVOs are met.”


As the senators noted in their letter, every 500 million gallon increase in biodiesel production supports an estimated 16,000 jobs.  


“We have made great progress through the RFS in diversifying our nation’s fuel supply while creating and sustaining jobs, strengthening local economies, generating tax revenues, and improving energy security,” the senators continued. “We urge you to continue to increase annual RVOs for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels and to ensure that, once set, the annual RVOs are fully met.”


The letter was also signed by Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Susan Collins of Maine, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Angus King of Maine, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Chris Murphy Connecticut, Gary Peters Missouri, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, John Thune of South Dakota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Ron Wyden of Oregon.


The full text of the letter can be viewed here.