Thirteen senators wrote U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan today urging him to set strong volume requirements for 2023 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The bipartisan group, led by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), also encouraged the administrator to use the pending rulemaking to optimize the RFS to deliver greater environmental and economic benefits from renewable fuels such as ethanol.
In a change from prior years, EPA will now determine RFS volumes based on a set of environmental and economic factors and guardrails in the statute. Biofuels such as ethanol cut greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions and lower prices at the pump, benefitting the environment and consumers.
As senators stated in their letter: “Through this rulemaking, EPA has a historic opportunity to not only reinforce its efforts to restore integrity to the RFS, but chart a new course for biofuels that will help meet America’s diverse energy demands while further decarbonizing numerous sectors of our economy.”
NCGA has also weighed in with EPA on RFS volume obligations in 2023 and beyond. NCGA President Tom Haag said corn growers appreciate the Senate support for biofuels as a key energy and environment solution and agree EPA has new opportunities to capitalize on biofuels through this RFS transition.
“Corn growers are grateful for the senators’ bipartisan advocacy for renewable fuels as EPA prepares to open a new chapter of the RFS,” Haag said. “EPA has a prime opportunity here to use the RFS as an even stronger tool in efforts to cut emissions, address climate change, increase our domestic fuel supply, hold down prices and continue to grow rural economies.”
Through 2022, the RFS statute specified annual volume targets for renewable fuels, reaching an implied volume of 15 billion gallons for ethanol. Beginning with 2023, EPA will determine RFS volumes based on a set of qualitative environmental, economic and agriculture factors, providing EPA with paths to grow the RFS and renewable fuel use. EPA is expected to issue a proposed rule by November 16.
In addition to Senators Thune and Durbin, those signing the letter to EPA were: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).