Bioenergy leaders tell Congress 'leave RFS2 alone'

Leaders from several bioenergy industry trade groups sent a letter to members of Congress highlighting biofuel successes, and asking them, in the face of waiver requests, to leave RFS2 alone.
By Ron Kotrba | May 19, 2011

On May 17, several leaders in the U.S. biofuel sectors sent a letter to the leadership of the congressional committees considering measures that could help or hinder the domestic biofuels industry. The recipients were U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its ranking member, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) as well as U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and its ranking member, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

McAdams spoke to earlier this month in St. Louis at the International Biomass Conference & Expo, where he joined six other industry leaders on stage during the event’s general session panel. Make sure to check out the June issue of Biorefining Magazine in which Associate Editor Erin Voegele authors a feature article that covers the panel discussion between the seven bioenergy industry leaders.

The letter sent to Congress follows.

As the leading advocates of the U.S. biofuels industry, we are committed to policies that will ensure low carbon, domestically produced biofuels continue to provide our nation a way forward to decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating new jobs, as well as real economic opportunity. We are equally committed to ensuring the U.S. biofuels policy is implemented in a way that builds upon current technologies and fosters the development of new ones.

We commend Congress for its leadership in enacting the enhanced Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Multiple companies are poised to make significant capital investments to commercialize new biofuels technologies in the near future that will help this country meet the appropriately aggressive targets in the RFS. The predictable market conditions facilitated by the RFS are critical to those investments. We urge Congress to stand firm in the face of calls to waive or repeal the groundbreaking biofuels provisions included in the EISA, including the RFS.

Today the domestic biofuels industry is already creating jobs, helping to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and providing downward pressure on gas prices at the pump. It is now contributing more than 400,000 jobs and $53 billion in new activity to the nation’s economy. A recent report found that additional job creation from advanced biofuels production under the RFS could reach 807,000 by 2022.

The more than 13 billion gallons of domestic ethanol produced and consumed last year alone reduced oil imports by more than 445 million barrels, a volume greater than the total annual oil imports from Saudi Arabia. Advanced biofuels production under the RFS could further reduce U.S. petroleum imports by nearly $70 billion by 2022. Current use of ethanol as 10 percent of the nation’s gasoline supply is also helping to dampen the devastating impacts of high gasoline prices.