Axne, Bustos, Craig, Klobuchar Lead Members Across Seven States in Urging Administration to Increase Biofuels Usage

September 28, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congresswomen Cindy Axne (IA-03), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Angie Craig (MN-02) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) led a bicameral group of Congressional members spanning seven states in a letter urging the Administration to increase biofuels usage and reject any reduction in biofuel blending requirements.

After recent reports that the Administration may be considering lowering the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), the group raised serious concerns about the harm a reduction in biofuels usage could cause to the Administrations clean energy goals and economic stability of the renewable fuels marketplace.

“We have strong reservations about the potential for the Administration to destroy over 5 billion gallons of biofuel volume from the 2020, 2021, and 2022 RVOs. This action would directly undermine your commitment to address climate change and restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” the letter states. “Every gallon of biofuels that is blended into our nation’s fuel supply displaces a gallon of oil and cuts carbon emissions…Reducing biofuel blending requirements will increase greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Rather than exempting refiners of their obligations under the Clean Air Act, we urge the Administration to provide additional certainty and stability to the renewable fuels marketplace by issuing strong RVOs for 2021 and 2022, and declining to remand any gallons from the 2020 RVO. These actions will create jobs, drive American investment, and cut carbon emissions from the transportation sector.”

The letter was also signed by Reps. Mark Pocan, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Bobby Rush, David Scott, Tim Ryan and Ron Kind, and Senators Dick Durbin, Tammy Duckworth, Tina Smith, Tammy Baldwin and Debbie Stabenow.

In June, Axne, Bustos, Craig and Klobuchar also led 12 bicameral colleagues in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Economic Council (NEC) expressing concern about reports that the agencies were considering exempting oil refiners of their obligations under the Clean Air Act’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Text of the letter is below and can be found here:

Dear President Biden and Ms. McCarthy:

Thank you for your work to decarbonize our nation’s transportation sector and help the United States achieve a clean energy future. Your efforts are critical to maintaining U.S. competitiveness across the globe while bolstering good-paying, union jobs here at home.

We write today with serious concern about recent reports that the Administration is considering a significant reduction to the annual biofuel blending requirements known as the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). Specifically, we have strong reservations about the potential for the Administration to destroy over 5 billion gallons of biofuel volume from the 2020, 2021, and 2022 RVOs. This action would directly undermine your commitment to address climate change and restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The RFS was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicle transportation sector, diversify our fuel supply, strengthen our national security, and drive economic opportunity. When allowed to function as Congress intended, the RFS has delivered on these goals while serving as the economic engine behind a burgeoning bio-based manufacturing sector across rural America and a biofuel industry with a 100-percent U.S. supply chain and a higher union density than the national average.

Every gallon of biofuels that is blended into our nation’s fuel supply displaces a gallon of oil and cuts carbon emissions. Multiple studies from academic institutions, federal agencies, and national laboratories have confirmed that corn ethanol (46 percent ), cellulosic ethanol (70  – 126  percent), and biodiesel (66 – 79  percent) are less carbon intensive than gasoline and petroleum diesel. Reducing biofuel blending requirements will increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress clearly intended the RFS to be a forward-looking policy to drive investments in biofuels production, lead to the next generation of advanced biofuels, and fuel a clean energy agenda for decades. Rather than exempting refiners of their obligations under the Clean Air Act, we urge the Administration to provide additional certainty and stability to the renewable fuels marketplace by issuing strong RVOs for 2021 and 2022, and declining to remand any gallons from the 2020 RVO. These actions will create jobs, drive American investment, and cut carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

Again, we appreciate your work to address the climate crisis, and we urge you to reject any actions that would reduce the RVOs or exempt oil refiners of their obligations under the RFS.

We look forward to working with you on this important matter.