U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, R-S.D., members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, led their colleagues in a bipartisan letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to request that he instruct the department to complete the full lifecycle assessment of soybean oil-based biodiesel, including direct and significant indirect emissions, before the end of the year.
“As the Department of Agriculture (USDA) works to ensure the inclusion of agriculture-based biofuels as part of the effort to decarbonize our fuel supply, it’s critical that lifecycle carbon assessments of biofuels be based on current and sound science,” the senators wrote. “Fuels like biodiesel offer a sustainable, readily available source of emissions reductions, but full acknowledgement of such contributions require accurate data and modeling.
“We were encouraged by your response to a question for the record in your confirmation hearing, in which you committed to ‘request a review of the current literature and an evaluation of the benefit of a new study focused on biomass-based diesel.’ We write in support of such a review and request that you instruct USDA complete a full lifecycle assessment of soybean oil-based biodiesel, including direct and significant indirect emissions, before the end of the year.”
Joining Klobuchar and Thune in signing the letter were Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan).
“Our request comes at a critically important time as states, regions, and municipalities are designing new or expanding existing greenhouse gas reduction targets,” the senators wrote. “We believe that biofuels have already demonstrated their value as a readily available fuel that is compatible with existing vehicle fleets and fueling infrastructure. However, providing an updated, federally supported lifecycle assessment of soybean oil-based biodiesel will help ensure that this product is given accurate credit when considering carbon reduction strategies.”