Senators urge administration to back biodiesel growth

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2013 - A bipartisan group of 32 senators sent a letter Thursday asking the Obama administration to support “reasonable growth” in the biodiesel industry next year under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

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The senators, representing biodiesel production plants from Washington to Minnesota to Maine, specifically called on the administration to establish a volume requirement of at least 1.7 billion gallons, consistent with this year's projected production.

The letter was led by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Al Franken, D-Minn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. The letter warned that a weakened RFS could lead to plant closures and thousands of lost jobs while threatening future investment.

“Biodiesel has exceeded RFS targets in each year and is clearly poised to do so again in 2013,” the senators wrote. “Biodiesel is improving our energy security by reducing our dependence on imported petroleum diesel, diversifying fuel supplies and creating competition in the fuels market. Setting the 2014 biodiesel volume requirement at reduced levels could have severe impacts on the domestic biodiesel industry.”

Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, said the showing of bipartisan support represents the “very real” impact that biodiesel is having in communities across the country.

“It is creating jobs, reducing emissions and diversifying our fuel supplies so that consumers and our economy are not so vulnerable to volatile global oil markets,” Steckel said. “Biodiesel is an RFS success story and we are urging the administration to continue the momentum.”

The letter was sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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