U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Bipartisan Efforts to Protect Biofuel Production and Rural Wisconsin Jobs

Current EPA proposal to cut Renewable Fuel Standard would hurt Wisconsin farmers and rural communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works toward finalizing its rule on biofuels volume requirements for 2018, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joins bipartisan efforts to call for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in order to protect Wisconsin farmers and the agriculture economy.

Senator Baldwin’s actions come at a time when the Trump administration and EPA have sent confusing signals to industry, causing uncertainty for biofuels businesses, fuel retailers and farmers. In a letter to the EPA, Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of senators led by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). The Senators wrote:

“EPA’s proposal would hold the biomass-based diesel volume for 2019 stagnant at 2.1 billion gallons and decrease the advanced biofuel volume for 2018 to 4.24 billion gallons. These proposed volumes do not reflect the existing potential for the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states and could cause near-term job losses and discourage investment in capacity and new fuel development. It is estimated that every 500 million gallons of increased biodiesel production supports roughly 16,000 jobs.”

Earlier this month, Senator Baldwin joined 38 senate colleagues in a separate bipartisan letter led by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the proposed level of biofuels to be blended into fuels in 2018 under the Renewable Fuels Standard, writing:

“If done right, this rule is an opportunity to continue our nation’s path to be not only the world leader in first generation ethanol production, but also in cellulosic ethanol and advanced biofuel production by spurring investment and manufacturing here in the United States rather than overseas. We urge you to continue to implement the RFS as intended by Congress and release a strong final rule that would give consumers more choices at the pump, strengthen our economy and make our country more secure.”

Senator Baldwin is also a cosponsor of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517), which would expand the use of biofuel by allowing consumers to buy certain biofuel blends year-round, ending an overly-restrictive policy. In March, she urged President Trump to continue to assign fuel importers and refiners responsibility for incorporating biofuels into petroleum fuel blends.  

Last year, Senator Baldwin signed a letter to the EPA expressing concern that the methodology used to calculate biofuel blending targets resulted in decreased biofuel volume targets. In July of 2015 she called on the EPA to raise its biofuel blending targets, and at the beginning of the year she pushed the EPA to release its biofuel blending targets, some of which had been delayed for over a year.