Blunt, Grassley lead call for Obama administration to support biodiesel

U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a bipartisan letter on Friday that called for President Barack Obama to foster energy diversity through the support of biodiesel fuel.

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) joined Blunt and Grassley in leading the letter calling on the Obama administration to increase its proposed 2018 Renewable Volume Obligations for biodiesel.

The letter, which was signed by 36 additional senators, argued that the move would support biodiesel industry growth, create jobs and diversify the nation’s energy supply.

“Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to reach commercial scale production nationwide,” the senators wrote. “The biodiesel industry has met RFS criteria for growth, exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005 and supporting over 47,000 jobs.”

The 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel that Americans used last year supported 47,400 jobs, generating $1.9 billion in wages and an $8.4 billion overall economic impact, the National Biodiesel Board reports.

“The EPA’s 2018 proposal calls for just 100 million gallons in growth over the 2017 volume,” the senators wrote. “This does not capture the full potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states and should be strengthened to at least 2.5 billion gallons, an increase of 400 million gallons.”

The National Biodiesel Board study also found that the production of 2.5 billion gallons of biodiesel, for which the senators advocated in the letter, would support 81,600 jobs and have a $14.7 billion total economic impact.

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