Bipartisan group of senators urged Administration to release strong Renewable Fuel Standard in November that supports homegrown ethanol production

Today’s meeting with McDonough latest in long line of advocacy from bipartisan group for strong RFS that will support U.S. jobs and economy, decrease dependence on foreign oil, and meet carbon reduction targets

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) were joined by 12 of their colleagues today for a bipartisan meeting of senators in Klobuchar’s office with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to push for the release of a strong final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule in November that supports homegrown ethanol production. The senators highlighted to McDonough that the RFS has led to U.S. job creation and economic growth, decreased our dependence on foreign oil, and helped us get closer to meeting our carbon reduction targets. EPA is expected to finalize RFS targets by November 30, 2015.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard has helped create American jobs, drive innovation, and boost local economies across Minnesota and the country, all while reducing carbon emissions,” said Klobuchar. “The last thing we should be doing is throwing the brakes on the progress we’ve made by rolling back the Renewable Fuel Standard. The future of the biofuels and advanced biofuels industries depend on a rule that provides stability and predictability. That’s why I’ve convened this important meeting today with White House Chief of Staff McDonough and a bipartisan group of colleagues from coast to coast who share these goals. I’ll keep pushing for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard that will drive investment in renewable fuels and continue generating economic gains across rural Minnesota and our nation.”

“The biofuels industry is critically important on several basic levels: it moves us towards energy independence; it helps clean up our environment; and it creates jobs, including thousands in Illinois,” said Durbin. “But this progress is at risk if the Renewable Fuel standard is weakened or delayed. When lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, representing states all over the country, come together to share a common concern, that really means it is time to listen. And I hope the Administration does.”

In addition to Klobuchar and Durbin, today’s meeting attendees included Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Al Franken (D-MN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

The RFS requires that transportation fuel sold in the United States contain an increasing amount of renewable fuel each year through 2022. While the volume of biofuels that transportation fuel must contain each year has already been set by Congress, the EPA included a lower level than Congress intended for 2015 and 2016 in the current proposed rule. The EPA earlier this year stated that it will finalize the biofuels volumes for 2014, 2015, and 2016 by November 30, 2015, but it has not indicated if the final volume levels will be revised to reflect congressional intent. Moving forward, the senators are calling on the EPA to ensure that the RFS continues to drive further adoption of biofuels.

According to the EPA, in the past 10 years since the creation of the RFS, the RFS has helped create over 850,000 jobs. It is also responsible for tripling America’s production of clean, low-carbon renewable fuel, which has reduced transportation-related carbon emissions by over 589 million metric tons. This is equivalent to removing more than 124 million cars from the road over the decade.

Today’s meeting follows a bipartisan meeting of 16 senators that Klobuchar convened in December of 2013 with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to call for changes to the proposed RFS 2014 rule. The senators have also sent multiple letters to McCarthy to urge changes to the administration’s proposed 2014 RFS rule and call for an increase in the proposed volumes that the EPA has set for biodiesel production in future years.