Iowa Leaders Call on EPA to Uphold the RFS, Provide Certainty for Iowa Farmers and Producers
Nov 07, 2019
WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), along with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, have submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The three Iowa leaders have a clear, consistent message for EPA Administrator Wheeler: uphold the RFS and provide certainty to Iowa farmers and biofuels producers that 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons. All three sent their public comments in the form of letters directly to Administrator Wheeler.
“As the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, the renewable fuels industry is an important sector of Iowa’s economy. It generates nearly $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP, over $2.4 billion in household incomes and supports 47,000 jobs across Iowa. President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn’t undercut President Trump’s support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace,” Grassley said. His comment can be found here.
“Plain and simple, if the market for biofuels does not trust EPA to implement the proposal President Trump negotiated, the market will not make investments in biofuels – a dangerous spiral for our industry which will only lead to more plants closed and jobs lost in the heartland. It is time again for the EPA to get this policy right, respect the President’s intent, and uphold the law as it was written. This means providing certainty that they will ensure that 15 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended each year,” Ernst wrote.
“I write today to implore the EPA to consider the real-world ramifications of these decisions,” said Gov. Reynolds in her letter. “These rules have a real and tangible impact on the people of Iowa and across the country. Rural communities in Iowa, like Crawfordsville, Emmetsburg, Merrill and Sioux Center, are especially feeling the effects first-hand. These communities have had to endure the shuttering of biofuels facilities, a detrimental blow that is a direct result of the EPA’s actions,” Reynolds wrote.
Grassley has been a steadfast advocate for ethanol and environmentally-friendly alternative energy throughout his time as a U.S. Senator. Last year, he joined a bipartisan group of 35 senators urging EPA to increase volume obligations for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel and to ensure any small refiner economic hardship exemptions are appropriately accounted for in its final rule for the RFS. Grassley is also an original co-sponsor of the RFS Integrity Act of 2019, which would ensure the EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual renewable volume obligations it sets each November.
Grassley sent a letter to DOE requesting information on its review process of “hardship waivers”, as they provide recommendations on exemption requests to the EPA. DOE responded to his letter explaining that the EPA went against its recommendations and were issuing waivers to refineries that faced little or no actual hardship. Grassley has urged the EPA to outline their plan to make the waiver process more transparent. He’s also led efforts pressing the EPA to stop issuing these “hardship waivers” to obligated refiners and highlight the importance of the RFS to President Trump and his administration.
Grassley helped lead the effort to encourage the Trump administration to approve E15 for year-round sales to help farmers, consumers and the country. In May of this year, the EPA finalized a new rule lifting the ban.
Growth Energy, one of the leading biofuels trade associations in the country, presented Grassley with the “Fueling Growth Award,” this year for his work to get E15 sold year-round and constant efforts to advance, support and defend renewable fuels and the RFS. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “Senator Grassley has fought and won more battles for Iowa farmers and biofuels producers than anyone in Washington. We’re deeply grateful for his tireless dedication to protecting the role of biofuels in America’s fuel mix and opening new opportunities for the agricultural economy. He understands the incredible challenges facing America’s farm families, and he works every day to ensure their voices are heard.”
On November 4th, over 60 corn, soybean, and biofuel groups wrote a letter stating that the EPA’s supplemental rule would not accurately account for small refinery exemptions and would hurt farm economies and biofuel plants in rural America. Their letter can be found here.