Building Back Better with Biofuels

Expecting heightened attention on renewable energy in the years ahead, Growth Energy will be working with America’s elected leaders to unleash ethanol as the engine of the rural economy and the foundation of rapid climate progress.
By Emily Skor | December 28, 2020

In 2020, the biofuels industry met and overcame some of the toughest obstacles in our history. From a worldwide pandemic to disastrous windstorms to hostile regulators, we remained agile and resilient, seizing every opportunity to drive demand and propel the industry forward. Thanks to these efforts, no other industry is in the same position to revitalize rural America in the wake of COVID-19 or rebuild America’s agricultural supply chains. We also worked tirelessly to ensure that all candidates in the election understood ethanol’s critical role in decarbonizing the transportation sector and revitalizing rural America.

And we’re glad we did, because President-elect Joe Biden was among the 13 democratic presidential candidates who toured Growth Energy member plants during the campaign cycle. Throughout the campaign, we heard repeated vows to support our industry on the Renewable Fuel Standard, small refinery exemptions (SREs), and renewable volume obligations, as well recognition for the role of biofuels in the rural economy.

“From day one, President Biden will use every tool at his disposal, including the federal fleet and the federal government’s purchasing power, to promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol and other biofuels,” declared the Biden-Harris campaign.

As we all know, campaign promises are no guarantee of future behavior, but Growth Energy can and will hold our elected leaders accountable on their commitments. That’s because biofuels can play a critical role in the president-elect’s Building Back Better agenda. They remain the most affordable and effective solution available now, and we can harness those environmental and economic benefits by strengthening the RFS, accelerating innovations in climate-friendly farming, and promoting low-carbon transportation strategies at home and abroad.

In the near-term, Growth Energy will be pushing the Biden Administration to focus on some of our industry’s top priorities. That includes restoring the integrity of the RFS, rejecting outstanding SREs, and setting strong biofuel targets for next year and beyond. The administration also must eliminate barriers to higher blends—that includes clarifying rules for the use of E15 in existing E10 infrastructure, and importantly, removing the outdated E15 label at the pump.

More broadly, we expect new attention on climate change, where biofuels must play a key role as part of any serious plan to decarbonize transportation—at home and abroad. Thankfully, we have proven champions who will be by our side this year to make the case. Bipartisan leaders, from Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, ran and won on their record of supporting biofuels.

Alongside these and other champions, we will continue to break down trade barriers to low-carbon ethanol in markets like Brazil, Mexico and China. We will promote innovation in biotechnology and sustainable agricultural tools. And we will make higher biofuel blends central to investments in clean energy infrastructure.

So, on behalf of America’s biofuel industry, Growth Energy extends its congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, and all our champions who were re-elected, as well as new members in Congress, whom we look forward to advising as they get up to speed. The challenges ahead are great, but we look forward to working with America’s elected leaders to unleash ethanol as the engine of the rural economy and the foundation of rapid climate progress.

Author: Emily Skor
CEO, Growth Energy
202.545.4000
eskor@growthenergy.org