WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa on Tuesday received the 2015 Fueling Growth Award from Growth Energy for his work to develop policies that support clean-burning, domestically produced ethanol. Grassley was presented the award at the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., where he spoke about renewable energy and the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“I’m honored to receive this award,” Grassley said. “I’ve been an advocate of renewable fuels for a long time, starting with ethanol. Alternative energy sources reduce our dependence on foreign oil, increase national security, and create jobs for American workers in addition to extending our fuel supply and lowering prices at the pump.”
The award is given annually by Growth Energy to members of Congress who support ethanol advancement and work to craft consistent and fair federal policy for the industry.
Grassley vigorously advocates for the maintenance and strength of the Renewable Fuel Standard. In July 2015, Grassley urged the Environmental Protection Agency to revise and increase its proposed volume obligations for renewable biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, 2015 and 2016. In April, Grassley led a bipartisan group of senators in calling for a strong volume requirement for biodiesel under the RFS.
In July 2015, Grassley also secured Finance Committee passage of tax incentives for biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol in a bipartisan tax extenders bill. The committee accepted a Grassley amendment to change the biodiesel fuels tax credit from a mixture credit to a production credit for 2016. Among the benefits, the change would ensure that U.S. tax policy incentivizes a domestic industry instead of subsidizing imported biofuels. The provision, along with other tax extenders provisions, awaits full Senate consideration.
Nationally, the renewable fuels industry supported more than 400,000 jobs and added $53 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2014, according to Growth Energy.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association reported that with 43 ethanol plants and 3.9 billion gallons produced in 2014, Iowa ethanol production is at a record high and is the largest producer of ethanol in the country. Iowa’s production accounts for about 27 percent of national ethanol production.
Grassley’s prepared remarks at the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference are below.
Grassley Prepared Statement
at the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015
I’m glad to have this opportunity to be with you this afternoon. You represent many of the leaders in the renewable energy industry.
I’m a long-time supporter of efforts to diversify our energy supply with clean-burning, homegrown renewable energy.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has proven to be an enormous success. It has driven the development and use of alternative and advanced biofuels.
As a result of this program, cellulosic biofuels are already being produced in Galva and Emmetsburg, Iowa, with construction nearly complete at a third facility in Nevada, Iowa.
The RFS has added value to agriculture markets and energized many rural economies across Iowa and the nation.
It has helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs while lowering prices for consumers at the pump while reducing emissions.
It has also increased our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
In recent years, I’ve fought off efforts to undermine homegrown renewable energy by Big Oil and Big Food.
Biofuel proponents have dispelled the myths and misinformation campaigns that have been launched to discredit ethanol and biodiesel.
And once again, biofuels are under attack.
This attack is aimed at the Renewable Fuel Standard and comes from President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA’s severe misstep with its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations released in November 2013 has been harmful to biofuel producers, to Iowa’s rural economy, our national security and our environment.
I’m glad they decided to scrap their proposal and offer a new proposal to set the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Unfortunately, the EPA’s new proposal will also undermine the RFS.
I recognize the proposal is a modest improvement over the previous proposed rule.
But, without significant improvements, the proposal will lead to job losses and will increase our dependence on foreign oil.
It will harm the development of next generation and cellulosic fuels and weaken efforts to build out renewable fuels infrastructure.
The proposed volumes fall well short of the statutory levels set forth by Congress. These proposed levels disregard the production capabilities of the domestic industry.
They’re also based on faulty rationale and the questionable use of EPA’s waiver authority provided by Congress.
I am unaware of any authority to waive the RFS obligations based on the seeming lack of distribution capacity.
The RFS was created by Congress to pull biofuels into to the market.
It was created with the intention to transform our fuels market toward higher blends of biofuels, including E85, E30 or E15.
The intent was a forward-looking policy that drives future investments in both biofuels production and the infrastructure necessary to bring these biofuels to market.
Limiting the RFS to levels that can be met with existing infrastructures eliminates the incentive to invest and develop the next generation of biofuels.
It’s clear, based on this proposal that the EPA continues to fall for Big Oil’s argument that the infrastructure isn’t in place to handle the fuel volumes required by law.
This proposal rewards Big Oil’s obstruction.
The fact is, the supply of renewable fuel is adequate to meet the statutory volumetric requirements.
Importantly, if the program had been implemented by EPA on time and consistent with congressional intent, private investments in distribution infrastructure would have already been made.
Regardless, now is not the time to put oil producers in charge of implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Limiting biofuels volume requirements based on alleged infrastructure constraints and the phony “blend wall” falls outside of the EPA’s clearly defined waiver authority provided by Congress.
I strongly urged the EPA to revise and increase the volume obligations for renewable biofuels and comply with the statutory requirements of the RFS.
Anything less will undermine our efforts toward a vibrant, successful domestic biofuels industry and will harm investments in the next generation of biofuels.
Our nation and our farmers need federal policies that promote stable, secure energy. We need affordable energy to grow our food and grow our economy.
We need energy sources that enhance our national security, not threaten it.
And most of all, we need to use the resources God gave us here at home, whether that be domestic oil and gas, nuclear power, or wind and biofuels.
Over the past thirty years, our national security and economic well-being has been too dependent on oil imports from tin-horn dictators and regimes that sought to do us harm.
The 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in the U.S. last year is more than the gasoline produced from crude imported from Saudi Arabia.
This economic activity supports American farmers, rural economies, and keeps money at home, rather than sending it abroad.
We don’t need to put a Navy fleet in harm’s way to protect the shipping lanes for biofuels out of the Midwest.
Our country needs a true all-of-the-above energy policy. And biofuels are an important component of that policy.
The federal government made a commitment to homegrown, renewable energy when Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The policy is working.
I intend to defend all attacks against this successful program whether they come from big oil, the EPA, big food or others.