Senators lead call on EPA to provide certainty to biodiesel workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today led a bipartisan group of 32 Senators in pressing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to live up to its legal obligation to provide certainty to the biodiesel industry and the thousands of workers it employs by setting long-delayed production standards.
Expressing concern with recent layoffs and plant closures in the biodiesel industry, the Senators underscored the need for the EPA to provide certainty for biodiesel workers by setting production levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014, and to move ahead on these levels for 2015 and 2016.
Last year, nearly 80 percent of U.S. biodiesel producers scaled back production and almost 6 in 10 idled production altogether. Additionally, two-thirds of producers said they have already reduced or anticipate reducing their workforce as a result of the downturn. The Senators emphasized the need for the agency to respond with new production levels immediately and to make production level decisions in a timely manner going forward.
“EPA’s recent actions have neither reflected industry capacity nor biodiesel’s separate treatment under the RFS,” the Senators wrote. “The recent delay has only compounded the effects from the November 2013 RFS proposed rule which did not adequately reflect biodiesel production levels. These actions continue to create tremendous uncertainty and hardship for the U.S. biodiesel industry and its thousands of employees. Plants have reduced production and some have been forced to shut down, resulting in layoffs and lost economic productivity. We urge you to get biodiesel back on schedule under the statutorily prescribed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) process and quickly issue volumes for 2014 at the actual 2014 production numbers. We also hope you move forward on the 2015 and 2016 biodiesel volumes in a timely manner, ensuring that these delays do not become the norm for the industry.”