Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) continued her advocacy on behalf of rural economic development and energy independence by joining with the other members of the bipartisan Biofuels Caucus in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. They urged her to make significant changes to the agency’s proposed rule on renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). They also called on the agency to use criteria found in statue to determine domestic biofuel volumes and follow Congressional intent when it passed the RFS.
“Making these common sense changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard will be good for our rural economy, good for the environment, and good for national security,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “That’s why I’ve been pushing the EPA to strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard and act as Congress intended. They must make significant changes to the proposed rule to set biofuels on a positive trajectory for years to come.”
Bustos has been a strong supporter of Illinois biofuels, toured ethanol facilities in the region and recognizes the important role the industry plays in rural economies. Last year, Bustos led a bipartisan group of 30 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the EPA expressing concern with the proposed RFS Rule and met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to personally share her concerns and the concerns of her constituents. Bustos also met with senior officials at the White House to discuss the importance of the RFS and protested the EPA proposal on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Full text of the Biofuels Caucus’ letter to the EPA can be found below and HERE.
The Honorable Gina McCarthy Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protect ion Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue N W
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
As members of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, we write to express our concern regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule on renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2014 and subsequent years under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). We urge you to make significant changes to this proposed rule, use criteria found in statute for determining domestic biofuel volumes, and follow Congressional intent when it passed the RFS.
The RFS is a key piece of our nation’s energy policy and it is working. The RFS has driven billions of dollars of investment in the biofuel sector in the United States and has created and supported hundreds-of-thousands of U.S. jobs, while also enhancing our nation’s energy security and delivering reliable renewable energy to market. Setting aggressive biofuel volume requirements is essential to continuing growth in our homegrown energy sector.
Unfortunately, the EPA’s proposed rule is inconsistent with the intent of the law. The proposed rule adopts a zero-growth approach and proposes limiting the annual blending targets based on available infrastructure—a criteria that is not included in the EPA’s clearly defined statutory waiver authority and was expressly rejected by Congress during the conference committee of the 2005 Energy Act (P.L. 109-58).
We are also concerned that the EPA’s continued delay and misinterpretation of the RFS could provide yet another avenue to shortchange the future of the biofuel industry. The RFS includes a “reset” provision that takes effect after 2016 if the EPA has reduced any of the mandated amounts by at least 20% for two consecutive years or by at least 50% for a single year. Should the EPA undermine the biofuel industry with insufficient volume requirements in the final rule, and use those very targets as the justification for a reset, it would add insult to injury for an industry already hamstrung by uncertainty. Instead we urge the EPA to set forth a strong methodology that reflects the original Congressional intent and is consistent with the long-term energy production goals of the RFS. Certainty in the biofuel market will unfreeze capital investments that have been waiting on the sidelines for far too long.
The decisions your agency makes in the coming weeks and months about the volumes for 2014, 2015, and 2016, as well as a decision on the biomass-diesel volume for 2017, will set the trajectory for the biofuel industry for decades to come. We again urge you to make significant changes to the final rule and follow clear Congressional intent in existing statute.