Ernst Helps Introduce Bill to Advance Deployment of Renewable Fuel Infrastructure, Expand Access to Higher Biofuel Blends
Feb 08 2021
WASHINGTON – Building on her efforts to expand access to higher biofuel blends, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in introducing The Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act of 2021, a bill that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a grant program to support the deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure.
The bill would require EPA to finalize their proposed rule that would remove certain barriers to expanded sales of E15, including E15 fuel dispenser labeling and compatibility with underground storage tanks, no later than 90 days after the legislation is enacted.
“I’ve long been pushing to expand infrastructure for high blends of biofuel, like E15, which is critical for Iowa’s economy. This bipartisan effort will help advance the deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure and provide consumers across Iowa and the country with greater access to cleaner, more affordable choices at the pump,” said Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Committee on the Environment and Public Works.
"Diversifying our fuel supply and introducing higher blends of biofuels in the market are great steps forward as we work to promote clean energy technologies and invest in transportation infrastructure,” said Senator Klobuchar. “This legislation will make cleaner fuels more accessible – ultimately benefiting both the economy and the environment.”
“Past one-off efforts like this have made huge impacts to open up the option of higher octane, lower cost fuels for consumers. But this bill would provide certainty of an ongoing effort so that retailers across the country, in big cities and small towns, have an opportunity to bring these biofuel blends to the market. It would be a win for consumers, retailers, farmers, and the environment. IRFA members appreciate the leadership of Sen. Ernst to push biofuels access to the front of the energy and environment agenda,” said Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
“Investing in renewable fuel infrastructure is a smart move at a critical time, and we commend Senator Ernst for her leadership. As the nation embraces new technologies and fuels, biodiesel should remain front and center in the transportation conversation because it stands out as a low-carbon intensity fuel for diesel technology. This infrastructure proposal would ensure biodiesel producers can stay on the cutting-edge of clean fuel technology while supporting jobs, rural communities and economic development,” said Grant Kimberly, Executive Director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.
“Senator Ernst continues to be a champion for corn farmers and biofuel producers, and she makes that clear with the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act of 2021,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association President and farmer from Randolph, Iowa Carl Jardon. “Through a multi-year commitment to biofuel infrastructure investment, this bipartisan bill will grow the use and availability of higher ethanol blends and make common sense changes to E15 labeling and infrastructure compatibility requirements. ICGA looks forward to working with Senator Ernst on advancing this legislation.”
The Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act of 2021 would authorize the USDA Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Grant Program to help accelerate the deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure. Under the program, eligible entities may use the funds to:
- Distribute to private or public entities for costs related to incentivizing deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure
- Convert existing pump infrastructure to deliver ethanol blends greater than 10 percent and biodiesel blends greater than 20 percent
- Install fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends, including E15 and E85, and higher biodiesel blends up to B100 at fueling locations
Ernst has been pushing to expand biofuel infrastructure and uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Last week, Ernst joined her colleagues in urging EPA to take action to restore integrity in the RFS, including streamlining their recently proposed rule to remove certain barriers to expanded sales of E15.
Following President Biden’s executive action to begin transitioning federal government vehicles to electric vehicles, Ernst urged him to change course by instead promoting the adoption of higher biofuel blends and investing in expanding biofuel infrastructure.