Lawmakers urge support for biofuels in reconciliation package

By Erin Voegele | September 07, 2021

A group of nine democratic lawmakers on Sept. 2 sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to include support for biofuels in the upcoming reconciliation package.

“Providing additional market access for higher blends of low carbon fuels in the budget reconciliation process will create jobs in rural communities, lower the price of fuel for consumers at the pump, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and, most importantly, decrease carbon emissions,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter cites studies that show renewable fuels could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by up to 70 percent by 2022 and noting biodiesel producers are already making fuels that cut GHG emissions by as much as 89 percent.

The letter also stresses that an all-hands-on-deck approach is needed to decarbonize the transportation sector, including investments and incentives for both electric vehicles (EVs) and homegrown renewable fuels.

The nine senators are asking the House to consider five specific bipartisan proposals as part of the budget reconciliation process, including the Biofuel Infrastructure and Agricultural Product Market Expansion Act, which supports funds for the installation of new fuel pump infrastructure to deliver higher ethanol and biodiesel blends; the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which extends the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) wavier to E15; the Low Carbon Biofuel Credit Act, which establishes a low carbon fuel tax credit to incentivize ethanol blends of E15 or greater; the Clean Fuels Vehicle Act, which aims to create incentives for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to produce flex fuel vehicles (FFVs); and the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act, which would extend the current federal biodiesel tax credit through 2025.

The letter is signed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Tammy Duckworth, Dill.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc.; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Reps. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Angie Craig, D-Minn.; Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.; and Mark Pocan, D-Wisc.

The American Coalition for Ethanol issued a statement thanking the nine lawmakers for pushing for support for renewable fuels in the reconciliation package. “ACE thanks Congressional biofuel champions today for urging for support for renewable fuels in the upcoming reconciliation package by specifically requesting Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi consider bipartisan proposals that have been introduced this year to provide incentives for retailers to sell E15 and E85 and for automakers to resume the production of flexible fuel vehicles, to encourage the use of higher blends of ethanol, and to ensure E15 can be available year-round,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Craig both told ACE conference attendees last month that they were fighting for funding for biofuels in legislative vehicles like the reconciliation package and we’re glad to see others have joined this push.”

Growth Energy also applauded efforts to include support for biofuels in the package. “We’re currently working with our U.S. Senate and House champions on a number of biofuels issues before Congress, including a legislative effort to allow retailers to sell E15 year-round,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Including these initiatives would return certainty to the biofuels market as we face continued regulatory uncertainty from the administration.

“These Members of Congress have long been advocates for biofuels producers and rural America, and we are grateful for their efforts to strengthen the production and sale of renewable biofuels.”

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