WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, offered commentary at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) public hearing for the proposed Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) for 2018, and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019.

In her comments, Senator Ernst detailed the important role a strong RFS plays for not only Iowa’s agricultural industry, but also in reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and giving consumers more choice at the pump.

The Iowa Senator noted that while she is pleased the EPA’s proposed 2018 volume requirements for conventional ethanol met the congressionally directed levels, she is disappointed in the lowered numbers for advanced biofuels.

Senator Ernst continued, “Reducing volumes for biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels would create uncertainty and slow investment in advanced biofuels. Especially as rural communities continue to experience a downturn in the ag economy, it is essential that the EPA’s volume requirements provide stability for these critical industries.”

Senator Ernst has raised the importance of the RFS to both President Trump and United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue. As Senator Ernst noted in her remarks, when President Trump visited Iowa in June, he “reiterated his commitment to supporting ethanol and biodiesel as part of his plan to rebuild rural America.” Adding that she trusts “that the President’s commitment will be reflected in the final rule that the EPA puts forward.”

Additionally, the Iowa Senator, a vocal supporter of biofuels, has repeatedly emphasized the important role of the RFS in a column earlier this year and with EPA Administrator Pruitt in his pre-confirmation meetingconfirmation hearing, and in multiple letters.

Read Senator Ernst’s full comments below:

“Good morning everyone. I’m Joni Ernst, the junior Senator from the great State of Iowa.

“I would like to start by thanking the EPA for holding this public forum today. It is important to take feedback from all stakeholders to inform the final rule.

“I would also like to stress how important it is that the EPA get the final rule out on schedule.

“Delays in years past have hampered investment in our domestic biofuels industry, which has cost jobs in rural communities across my home state of Iowa as well as the rest of the country.

“The RFS is critical to supporting our agricultural economy, while also reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and providing consumers with choices at the pump.

“While I was pleased that the EPA set the proposed volume requirements for conventional ethanol for 2018 at congressionally directed levels, I am disappointed that the advanced biofuels numbers were lowered.

“Additionally, I am concerned that the biodiesel numbers for 2019 are being held constant, and would like to see it increased to more accurately reflect our current domestic production capacity and usage.

“Reducing volumes for biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels would create uncertainty and slow investment in advanced biofuels. Especially as rural communities continue to experience a downturn in the ag economy, it is essential that the EPA’s volume requirements provide stability for these critical industries.

“When President Trump visited Iowa in June, he reiterated his commitment to supporting ethanol and biodiesel as part of his plan to rebuild rural America.

“I trust that the President’s commitment will be reflected in the final rule that the EPA puts forward.

“Thank you for taking my comments today.”