As President Biden doubles down on the climate agenda of the far-Left, even while gas prices hit all-time record highs, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are calling on him to unleash Iowa biofuel immediately and to support their bipartisan plan to replace banned Russian oil with clean, American-made renewable fuels that are available right now.
The senators’ new bill—the Home Front Energy Independence Act—puts the ban on Russian oil into law and couples that with opening up the use and production of biofuel that’s grown in Iowa and in the American heartland. Specifically, the new legislation combines parts of several of Ernst’s and Grassley’s past bills that would make E15 available year round, establish an E15 and Biodiesel Tax Credit, direct EPA to finalize their E15 labeling rule, and provide for biofuel infrastructure and compatibility with retailers.
“As gas prices hit record highs for Americans across the country, it’s never been clearer that energy security is national security,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Banning Russian oil was long overdue, but it’s far past time for President Biden to make good on the promises he made on the campaign trail to Iowa farmers and producers to support our state’s biofuel that is American-made, ready, and available to meet our nation’s needs right away.”
“When traveling around Iowa, you see E-15 being sold for $0.30 to $0.40 cheaper than E-10 – and ethanol has been selling at around a $1.20 discount to base gasoline. Homegrown Iowa biofuels provide a quick and clean solution for lowering prices at the pump, and bolstering production would help us become energy independent once again. Iowa producers stand ready to meet the moment and ramp up production to lower gas prices for families across the country,” Senator Grassley said.
Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said, “The uncertainty of the situation in Ukraine underscores the need for more homegrown biofuels to displace the oil we import from Russia, reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and improving our energy security. This bill by Senators Ernst, Klobuchar, and Grassley if enacted would provide relief for the rising gas prices families are paying at the pump. We urge the passage of this legislation to invest in a more energy independent nation through increasing the use of and access to higher biofuel blends today and the years ahead.”
Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said, “Why use Russian oil or go on bended knee to Saudi Arabia when we can utilize our own home-grown resources? Senator Ernst is absolutely correct to focus on unleashing American biofuels right now. If just the Midwest was allowed to move from E10 to E15, that’s enough additional American fuel to displace all the Russian oil we are importing. And U.S. ethanol producers have more than enough spare production capacity to make this a reality right now. Lower prices for consumers. Greater American energy security. And we stop funding the Russian war of aggression. Congress and the President should adopt this package today.”
Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO, said, “We applaud Senator Ernst for offering a smart, proactive, and immediate solution to the volatility and skyrocketing fuel prices Americans are facing at the pump today. Not only would the Home Front Energy Independence Act eliminate our dangerous dependence on Russian oil imports, but it would allow those imports to be replaced by lower-cost, lower-carbon renewable fuels produced by hard-working biofuel producers and farmers in America’s Heartland.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is the lead Democratic sponsor, while Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) are also cosponsoring the bill.
The Home Front Energy Independence Act combines elements of several of the senators’ previous bills aimed at supporting and incentivizing the use of Iowa’s biofuel, including the Biofuel Infrastructure and Agricultural Product Market Expansion Act of 2021, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, the Low Carbon Biofuel Credit Act, and the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2021. It would also put into law full restrictions on U.S. purchases of Russian oil until the president determines Russia recognizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The current excess ethanol capacity domestically is nearly the same as the amount of Russian gas the U.S. had been importing: roughly 83 million barrels versus 87 million barrels.