Ernst Commends USDA for Prioritizing Expansion of Ethanol, Biodiesel Infrastructure

The Iowa Senator has worked tirelessly with the Trump Administration to prioritize biofuels and create more choice at the pump

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a relentless advocate for Iowa’s biofuels industry, is commending the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for working with stakeholders on their new initiative to build out infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol, like E15. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky announced the new program at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona, Iowa.

“I’m thrilled to see USDA working with folks across the country to find ways to expand infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol—such as E15 that we’ve made available year-round—to create more choice at the pump and increase demand for the product,” said Senator Ernst, member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. “As the number one ethanol and biodiesel producing state in the country, Iowans understand how important this step is for ensuring the future success of the industry, and I commend the Trump Administration for making this a priority.”

Last year at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Ernst asked Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky for details on the agency’s plans to seek opportunities to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuels blends, as promised by the October 4th deal that Senator Ernst, along with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA), negotiated with the Trump Administration regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Background

Senator Ernst is an original cosponsor of S.1840, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Integrity Act of 2019. The bipartisan legislation would ensure EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual renewable volume obligations (RVO) it sets each November.

Senator Ernst worked closely with the Trump Administration, specifically EPA, to remove the outdated restriction on the sale of E15 year-round. In May of this year, the EPA finalized a new rule lifting the ban, and the Senator joined President Trump in Council Bluffs, Iowa to celebrate the big win for Iowa farmers and producers.

The Senator has urged EPA to stop issuing so-called “hardship” waivers exempting obligated parties, to provide topline information about the waivers already issued, to disclose whether or not the agency redistributed the waived volume obligations among the non-exempted obligated parties, and to outline the agency’s plan to make the waiver process more transparent.

For five years in a row, Growth Energy, who is a leading biofuels trade association in the country, have presented Senator Ernst with the “Fueling Growth Award,” for her work to get E15 sold year-round and her constant efforts to advance, support, and defend renewable fuels and the RFS as a whole.

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