House Biofuels Caucus Announces Two New Bills to Grow Biofuels Markets

March 3, 2021
Press Release

Today, the co-chairs of the House Biofuels Caucus introduced two new pieces of legislation to increase access to biofuels and to fully recognize the environmental benefits.

Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) and Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13) led introduction of the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act, which would expand access to higher blends of biofuels.

Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL) was the lead sponsor of the Adopt GREET Act, which will direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel.

“One of the largest barriers to increased use of higher blends of biofuels is the lack of infrastructure and availability for consumers,” said Rep. Axne.My bipartisan legislation will provide consistent federal investment for biofuels infrastructure and will remove barriers for E15. I’m also proud to support Rep. Johnson’s legislation to ensure the EPA is using the most up-to-date modeling to accurately reflect the greenhouse gas reduction provided by renewable fuels. These bipartisan bills will result in improved access to clean, affordable, and homegrown fuel.”  

“Consumers want access to higher, cleaner blends of biofuels at the pump but accessibility continues to be an issue,” said Rep. Johnson. “I’m proud to lead efforts with Rep. Axne and the Biofuels Caucus today to make this access a reality. The Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act and the GREET Act will move our nation towards cleaner and more affordable fuel.”

“I am proud to introduce the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act with Rep. Cindy Axne and my fellow Biofuels Caucus Co-chairs,” said Rep. Davis. “This bill builds off the highly successful USDA Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, which I have been proud to support due to its positive impact in expanding biofuel infrastructure for consumers in Illinois. And Rep. Johnson’s Adopt GREET Act will ensure federal regulators at the EPA take into account how biofuels lower greenhouse gas emissions. Our bipartisan legislation will provide much-needed support to the biofuels industry.”

“I am proud to work with my colleagues in the bipartisan Congressional Biofuels Caucus to put forward common sense legislation to improve our nation’s use of renewable fuels,” said Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02). “The Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act will help Minnesota reach its increased ethanol blend targets. Additionally, the Adopt GREET Act will modernize the modeling of Greenhouse Gas emissions in our nation’s fight against climate change. I commend my colleagues for this bipartisan work and look forward to supporting these bills as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and a member of the House Agriculture Committee.”

“I am glad to join my colleagues in the Congressional Biofuels Caucus to fund investment in biofuels infrastructure and update the EPA’s greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02). “Corn growers in Wisconsin deserve to have an even playing field in the market dominated by the oil and gas industry. These bills will help us further understand how biofuels can help us reach our emissions reduction goals while investing in rural jobs and infrastructure.”

“As the second-largest ethanol producing state, Nebraska is already a leader in providing America and the world with clean, renewable fuel,” said Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03). Ensuring EPA’s models accurately reflect ethanol’s environmental benefits and improving access to this fuel at the pump will help even more consumers choose this American energy source.”

Background on Legislation:

The Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act would authorize $500 million over 5 years for infrastructure grants for fuel retailers and direct the EPA Administrator to finalize a proposed rule to repeal E15 labeling requirements warning drivers about E15’s potential impact on cars, which may confuse and deter drivers from using E15, a blend of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol. The bill would also direct the EPA Administrator to finalize provisions from the same proposed rule to allow certain existing Underground Storage Tanks (UST) to store higher blends of ethanol.

The Adopt GREET Act would require the EPA to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel by requiring the EPA to adopt the Argonne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model for both fuels. EPA would then be required to update its modeling every five years or report to Congress to affirm its modeling is current or otherwise explain why no updates were made.

Support:

Both pieces of legislation are supported by the National Corn Growers Association, the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, and POET.

“Both the Adopt GREET Act and the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act encourage nationwide use of biofuels like ethanol and promote their proven environmental benefits as Congress and the Administration find ways to immediately decarbonize the transportation sector,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy“The bicameral and bipartisan support of each bill underscores the shared sentiment that biofuels’ role in reducing carbon emissions remains critical to some of today’s climate change challenges.”

“We thank Representative Axne and the Co-Chairs of the House Biofuels Caucus for championing legislation that drives investment in our nation’s low-carbon renewable fuels infrastructure,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO, Geoff Cooper. If enacted, this legislation would greatly expand the availability of clean fuels like ethanol in the marketplace, improving air quality, lowering fuel prices and stimulating the rural economy. Retailers want to offer smarter and more environmentally friendly fuel options to their customers, but antiquated regulatory burdens often prevent them from moving ahead. This legislation would help consumers, retailers and ethanol producers by ensuring that unnecessary regulatory barriers are reduced or removed, allowing small businesses across the nation to provide cleaner and more affordable options to American drivers.”

“For more than a decade, EPA’s analysis of ethanol’s carbon footprint has relied on speculative theories and obsolete data,” continues Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The legislation introduced today led by Congressman Johnson and the House Biofuels Co-Chairs will help ensure EPA’s renewable fuel regulations are based on sound science and current data. The Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model is recognized globally as the gold standard for analyzing the lifecycle greenhouse gas impacts of low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol, and the model is regularly updated to reflect efficiency improvements and technological advancements in the fuel production process. It’s time for EPA to replace its flawed analysis with the current GREET model, and this bill would bring scientific integrity and accuracy to the agency’s regulatory actions on renewable fuels.”

“A top priority for the Iowa Corn Growers Association is to increase the infrastructure and availability for higher biofuel blends,” said Carl Jardon, President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and farmer from Randolph, Iowa. “We thank Congresswoman Axne for her leadership and continued support of Iowa’s corn farmers and biofuel producers. Ethanol is the cleanest burning, highest performing low carbon fuel in the market today, and this bipartisan legislation will expand opportunities for consumers to fuel up with affordable, homegrown biofuel blends in Iowa and across the country.”

“We thank Representatives Axne, Davis, and the Co-Chairs of the House Biofuels Caucus for this demonstration of bipartisan leadership, which is necessary to ensure biofuels play a leading role in helping the U.S. achieve net-zero emissions by midcentury," said Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol. "While electric vehicles (EVs) continue to dominate the headlines, experts conclude EVs alone will fail to reach President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions in the U.S. by 2050, and that increased use of biofuels will be required to help address the emissions gap. A recent study by Harvard validates what ACE has been saying for years; today’s corn ethanol is nearly 50 percent cleaner than gasoline. This vital legislation with both bicameral and bipartisan backing would ensure infrastructure parity for biofuels and EVs and help ethanol continue to be part of the solution to climate change.”

Last month, Rep. Craig and Rep. Johnson, led the House Biofuels Caucus co-chairs in introducing the Renewable Fuels Integrity Act. The legislation would require small refineries to submit a petition for a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemption by June 1st of each year, allowing EPA to properly account for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations set each November. The bill would also increase transparency by mandating the public disclosure of data surrounding SREs – a process that has previously been carried out behind closed doors with little to no congressional oversight.

Reps. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Angie Craig (MN-02), Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Mike Bost (IL-12), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Jim Baird (IN-04), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Don Bacon (NE-02), Ashley Hinson (IA-01), and Michelle Fischbach (MN-07) are original cosponsors of the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act.

Additionally, Reps. Reps. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Angie Craig (MN-02), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Mike Bost (IL-12), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Jim Baird (IN-04), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Don Bacon (NE-02), Ashley Hinson (IA-01), and Michelle Fischbach (MN-07) are original cosponsors of the Adopt GREET Act.  

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