Senators request meeting with Biden on RFS

By Erin Voegele | July 29, 2021

A group of nine senators led by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., sent a letter to President Biden on July 28 requesting a meeting with him and members of his cabinet to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Within the letter, the senators indicate they want to discuss the opportunity that biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, present to bolster affordable American energy, underpin a strong agricultural economy, and immediately lower transportation emissions using existing vehicles and fueling infrastructure. “Unfortunately, the promise of homegrown biofuels and our agriculture sector appear to be woefully underrepresented in your administration’s energy, environmental, and transportation agenda,” the senators wrote.

The letter discusses the administration’s focus on electric vehicles and urges Biden “to not look beyond the current generation of biofuels technology and forgo the meaningful reduction in carbon emissions they can provide.”

The senators cite a recent study that found corn ethanol achieves lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of 46 percent when compared to gasoline and stress that additional technological advances and increasingly efficient farming practices can push that reduction to as much as 70 percent. Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies will further lower the lifecycle carbon intensity of biofuels, approaching net-zero or even net-negative emissions, the senators added.

“We hope to discuss with you immediate and intermediate steps your administration can take to feature American agriculture and biofuels as part of your energy and environmental agenda,” the senators wrote. “Two foundational actions would be to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt modern greenhouse gas modeling for renewable fuels (specifically, Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) Model) and approve long-stalled registrations for advanced, cleaner fuels. These two straightforward acts would acknowledge that modern farming practices and the domestic research and private investment spurred by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) have produced cleaner fuels and reduced emissions—an acknowledgement that would spur expanded utilization of these low carbon fuels.”

The letter also urges Biden to foster expanded export opportunities for U.S. biofuels, noting that American biofuels can help reduce global emissions while reducing trade deficits. In addition, the senators call on the administration to support the development of additional biofuel blending infrastructure, rigorously implement and enforce the RFS, and support year-round E15 sales.

In addition to Moran and Marshal, the letter is signed by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Michael Rounds, R-S.D.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Moran’s website