In Letter, Senators Say Biodiesel Creates Jobs in Minnesota, Improves National Energy Security

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) have joined a bipartisan group of 36 senators in urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the proposed volumes it set for biodiesel production under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Klobuchar, Franken, and their colleagues noted in a letter that the EPA’s prior delays in setting biodiesel volumes have led to tremendous uncertainty and hardship for our biodiesel producers and their employees. This ultimately caused reduced production and even shutdowns, leading to layoffs and lost economic productivity.

The senators also said that an EPA decision to allow imports from Argentinean producers to be included in the RFS must be taken into account, and that biodiesel volumes must be set at high enough levels to prevent displacement of domestic production.

“Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the RFS to reach commercial scale production nationwide,” wrote Klobuchar and Franken to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “It is exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005, while creating jobs, generating tax revenues, reducing pollution, and improving energy security. We urge you to support continued growth in the domestic biodiesel industry by making reasonable and sustainable increases in the biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 in the final rule.”

The EPA’s proposed volumes for 2014 through 2017 are expected to become final by November 30, giving the agency an opportunity to increase them before then. The public comment period on the current proposal closes July 27.

Full text of the letter can be viewed here. In addition to Sens. Klobuchar and Franken, the letter was signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.Dak.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Martin Heinrich (D-N. Mex.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), John Thune (R-S. Dak.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Maize Hirono (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S. Dak.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Roy Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Angus King (I-Maine), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Hoeven (R-N. Dak.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine.)