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Ernst Works to Recognize the Environmental Benefits of Biofuels, Efficient Farming

The Iowa senator is cosponsoring a bill that would require EPA to update greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel to fully recognize the environmental benefits of biofuel.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is continuing her work to support Iowa’s farmers and biofuel producers in cosponsoring the GREET Act introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD). The bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update its greenhouse gas (GHG) modeling for ethanol and biodiesel.

“Biofuels offer consumers across Iowa and the country a cleaner, more affordable choice at the pump,” Senator Ernst said. “The EPA’s current greenhouse gas modeling system is antiquated and fails to recognize the scientifically proven environmental advantages that ethanol and biodiesel hold over conventional fuels. This bill will modernize the EPA’s outdated modeling system to fully exhibit the role of biofuels in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The bill would require EPA to adopt either the Argonne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gas and Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model or the 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) methodology within 90 days of enactment.

For biodiesel, EPA would be required adopt the GREET Model. 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.

“Iowa Corn is pleased Senator Ernst cosponsored the Adopt GREET Act to require the EPA to use the most recent science recognizing ethanol as a cleaner-burning, low carbon fuel source,” said Kelly Nieuwenhuis Chair of Iowa Corn’s Industrial Usage and U.S. Production Committee. “This bill would finally update the EPA’s outdated science and show ethanol plays a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions versus conventional gasoline. Iowa’s corn farmers applaud Sen. Ernst’s leadership on this issue to ensure corn farmers and biofuels producers get the credit the deserve in significantly lowering carbon emissions from the transportation fuels sector.”

“Whether looking at opportunities to export or to meet the expectations of U.S. consumers, biofuels must be a low carbon solution, and they are. But outdated data and off-track analysis from the EPA erodes one of ethanol and biodiesel’s best selling points. Enactment of this legislation would remove yet another unnecessary and unjustified stumbling block for biofuels. IRFA members appreciate Sen. Ernst’s leadership on this issue and her relentless efforts to ensure biofuels have fair access to markets both at home and abroad,” said Monte Shaw, Executive Director, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

“We’re grateful for Senator Ernst’s support of this legislation requiring EPA to adopt the GREET Model or USDA’s methodology,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Biofuel plants continue to innovate, and the science on biofuels has dramatically improved. Troves of data show that ethanol significantly reduces greenhouse gases compared to gasoline, and its long overdue that EPA modernize its modeling to capture the full air quality benefits of cleaner biofuel blends. Biofuels are a cleaner burning, more affordable fuel designed to help combat pollution and reduce the harmful emissions in the air we breathe. Having updated, accurate modeling that better reflects the real-world benefits of higher ethanol blends paves the way for greater access for American drivers.”

“EPA should be using the most recent science and data to accurately show the greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits of ethanol,”  said Kevin Ross, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “This bill ensures that will happen. Both the GREET model and USDA analysis clearly show that ethanol results in significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline. Ethanol is a low-carbon solution both at home and in export markets and corn farmers thank Senator Ernst for her leadership.”


Earlier this week, Senator Ernst voted against the nominee for Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes, and, along with Senator Grassley, continued their push for greater transparency and certainty for Iowa’s farmers and producers, asking the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide the public with information on DOE's score of each petition and when the score recommendation was transmitted back to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Last week, Senator Ernst called on EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to certify biofuel infrastructure for E15 and remove unnecessary labeling which will increase consumer access to E15.