Sens. Klobuchar, Smith urge EPA to raise RFS volumes

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and a bipartisan group of 16 colleagues, including Sen. Tina Smith, sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the EPA to raise Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels to levels that are consistent with production and availability.

“America’s environmental and energy security depend on the widespread production, availability, and use of biofuels. Biofuels play a particularly critical role in emissions reduction for heavy-duty transportation — including aviation, shipping, rail, and trucking — while opening up economic opportunities for American farmers. A strong RFS and broad availability of homegrown agricultural feedstocks are critical for ensuring we keep up the progress we have made in decarbonizing our roads, seas, railways, and skies,” wrote the lawmakers.

“Since the volumes were set last summer, RIN values have decreased by an average of 66 percent, sending a discouraging market signal to farmers, feedstock producers, biofuel producers, blenders and investors. Domestic fuel production facilities are closing as a result, putting Americans out of work and disrupting local economies. The negative signal to renewable fuel producers threatens billions of dollars of investment in feedstock and fuel production, including for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Without EPA action, America will miss out on the carbon reductions delivered by advanced biofuels,” continued the lawmakers.

Klobuchar has long been a strong advocate for investing in renewable fuel infrastructure, increasing American biofuel production, and upholding the Clean Air Act’s RFS. In August 2023, she visited the farm of Bob Worth, then president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA), and said she’ll continue supporting biofuels as a right here, right now energy solution.

“It’s very important to keep biofuels strong, and biofuels are good for the environment,” Sen. Klobuchar told MSGA leaders. “Biofuels are a huge percentage of our fuel supply.”

Last year, Klobuchar and Grassley led a bipartisan letter urging the EPA to strengthen the RFS by maintaining the blending requirements for 2023; denying all pending Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs); eliminating proposed retroactive cuts to the renewable volume obligations (RVOs); and setting RFS volumes at the statutory levels.

In February 2024, Klobuchar and Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) led a group of 40 bipartisan members of Congress urging the Biden Administration to act quickly to ensure that the model used to determine eligibility for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) tax credits unlocks the potential held by farmers, ethanol producers, and airlines to reduce carbon emissions from aviation.

In January 2024, Klobuchar co-introduced the Farm to Fly Act. This legislation would help accelerate the production and development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through existing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and allow further growth for alternative fuels to be used in the aviation sector, creating new markets for American farmers.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Darin Johnson, who was elected MSGA president in June 2024, said he’s looking forward to discussing biofuels with Klobuchar and Smith when Minnesota farmer leaders visit Capitol Hill during American Soybean Association board meetings in mid-July.

“We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from our congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle when it comes to biofuels and the RFS,” Johnson said. “Our legislative leaders understand how important renewable fuels are to our economy, environment and our national security.”

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