Iowa Leaders to EPA: Uphold the RFS, Provide Certainty for Iowa Farmers and Producers

Senators Ernst and Grassley, along with Governor Reynolds, comment on EPA’s proposed supplemental rule on the RFS

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), along with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, have submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on their proposed supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The three Iowa leaders have a clear, consistent message for EPA Administrator Wheeler: uphold the RFS and provide certainty to Iowa farmers and biofuels producers that 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons. All three of these Iowa elected officials sent their public comments in the form of letters directly to Administrator Wheeler.

In her letter, Ernst writes: “Plain and simple, if the market for biofuels does not trust EPA to implement the proposal President Trump negotiated, the market will not make investments in biofuels – a dangerous spiral for our industry which will only lead to more plants closed and jobs lost in the heartland. It is time again for the EPA to get this policy right, respect the President’s intent, and uphold the law as it was written. This means providing certainty that they will ensure that 15 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended each year.” Read Senator Ernst’s full letter here.

Senator Grassley says, “As the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, the renewable fuels industry is an important sector of Iowa’s economy. It generates nearly $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP, over $2.4 billion in household incomes and supports 47,000 jobs across Iowa. President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn’t undercut President Trump’s support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace.” Read Senator Grassley’s full letter here.

Governor Reynolds writes: “I write today to implore the EPA to consider the real-world ramifications of these decisions,” said Gov. Reynolds in her letter. “These rules have a real and tangible impact on the people of Iowa and across the country. Rural communities in Iowa, like Crawfordsville, Emmetsburg, Merrill and Sioux Center, are especially feeling the effects first-hand. These communities have had to endure the shuttering of biofuels facilities, a detrimental blow that is a direct result of the EPA’s actions.” Read Governor Reynolds’ full letter here.

Background:

Senator Ernst has been a consistent and tireless advocate and fighter on behalf of Iowa’s biofuels industry. She has continued to advocate for the administration to uphold the RFS, including directly communicating with president on many occasions. Senator Ernst is the lead sponsor 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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