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Iowa Republicans seek increase in RVO levels to support biofuels producers

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) urged the Biden administration to amend its decision on Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) levels to increase them according to the actual production potential of Iowa biofuels producers.

“Representing the top biofuel-producing district in the country, it is my mission to ensure that the Biden administration understands the growth potential of Iowa biofuels, the importance of biofuels to our rural economy, and the need to support our farmers and the production of biofuels,” Rep. Feenstra said on May 23. “Unfortunately, due in part to the EPA’s decision to set RVO levels far lower than market capacity, biodiesel plants in Ralston, Iowa and Madison, Wis., were forced to close, eliminating jobs and harming the local economy. 

“We must ensure that these closures do not replicate across Iowa and the Midwest because these misguided steps by the Biden administration have real-world consequences for our economy and rural communities,” the congressman said. “Securing American energy independence begins with supporting Iowa’s homegrown energy production.”

One plant closure in Iowa is one too many, agreed Sen. Ernst, who said the administration must immediately increase RVO levels, which will support homegrown energy and lower gas prices.

“Completely ignoring my warnings early last year, Biden’s EPA has once again missed the mark on doing right by our farmers, environment, and biofuel producers,” Sen. Ernst said. “By implementing drastically low RVO levels, this administration has gone out of its way to destroy jobs and damage rural economies.”

The lawmakers reiterated their stance in a May 22 letter sent to President Joe Biden and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan that was also signed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).  

The lawmakers cited “the real-world impacts” of the EPA’s 2023 decision to set the biomass-based diesel, overall advanced, and overall RVOs through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) at “drastically low levels,” and they urged Biden and Regan to immediately consider amending the RVOs to higher levels.

“If the EPA has the authority to reopen an RVO rule to reduce volume obligations, then the agency certainly has the authority to do so to increase volumes,” the lawmakers wrote. “With the precedent now set, the EPA should admit its error in forecasting the amount of ethanol and biomass-based diesel in the market for 2024 and 2025 and reopen the rule to increase the biomass-based diesel, overall advanced and overall volume obligations. 

“Failure to do so,” they added, “will almost certainly result in additional biodiesel plant closures.”

Ripon Advance News Service

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