At Hearing, Ernst Sticks Up for Iowa Farmers, Biofuel: “A strong RFS supports rural America”

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With the Biden administration continuing to go back on its word with a biofuel agenda amounting to ‘promises made, promises broken,’ U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a relentless and longtime defender of biofuel, this morning stuck up for Iowa farmers and laid out the facts as to why the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is critical to America’s national security and for consumer access to affordable, homegrown, clean-burning biofuel today and in the future.

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At today’s Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing, Ernst began her portion by asking the witnesses about the high cost of fuel and whether the RFS is the cause, to which one witness, Emily Skor of Growth Energy, clarified that it is not the cause. Ernst agreed the RFS is not the cause of high fuel costs, saying “I reject that.” Ernst set the record straight when it comes to liquid fuel and how important it continues to be for American families and businesses and why biofuel needs to be a part of the conversation, stating: “As much as the Biden administration dreams of an all-electric world, the reality is liquid fuels are here to stay.”

She also pointed out the fact that the RFS was created in part “to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign nations.” She emphasized: “I firmly believe energy security is national security. And while President Biden claims to support America’s clean energy economy, he is turning his back on the RFS in favor of electric vehicles, which will only make us more dependent on China.”

Ernst then laid out the facts that show biofuel is a cleaner solution for today and the future, stating: “Science is on our side here too.” She went on: “The latest research shows corn ethanol is 46% less carbon intensive than petroleum-based gasoline and biodiesel is 74% less carbon intensive than petroleum-based diesel. […] So, let’s follow the science and use biofuel as part of clean energy policy.”

Below are Ernst’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:

“As we look to 2023 and beyond, America’s farmers and biofuel sector are best positioned to work with the administration to put the Renewable Fuel Standard back on track and be part of the solution to secure a clean energy future.

“As much as the Biden administration dreams of an all-electric world, the reality is liquid fuels are here to stay. With 98 percent of cars and trucks today, and nearly 80 percent of new vehicle sales projected in 2050 running on gasoline or flex fuel, biofuel is the key pathway to decarbonizing the transportation sector – and the RFS is the policy engine that makes this possible.

“Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which mandated the RFS, in part, to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign nations.

“I firmly believe energy security is national security.

“And while President Biden claims to support America’s clean energy economy, he is turning his back on the RFS in favor of electric vehicles, which will only make us more dependent on China.

“Science is on our side here too.

“Biofuel has enabled the U.S. to cut emissions from the transportation sector for over a decade. Between 2008 and 2020, the RFS saved nearly 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions and it’s only getting cleaner.

“The latest research shows corn ethanol is 46% less carbon intensive than petroleum-based gasoline and biodiesel is 74% less carbon intensive than petroleum-based diesel.

“Biofuel can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions with carbon capture and sequestration technologies and on farm conservation practices, which many Iowa farmers are already doing.

“So, let’s follow the science and use biofuel as part of clean energy policy.

“But it’s not only a clean energy source, biofuel is great for our economy and pocketbooks. 

“Iowa corn and soybean farmers had record high crop yields in 2021. The biofuel industry accounts for over $5 billion of GDP, generates $2.6 billion of income for households, and supports nearly 46,000 jobs in Iowa.

“Ethanol is also the cheapest form of fuel for consumers right now—by about 50 cents—and certainly with record-high inflation it only makes sense to make this fuel source more readily available. That’s why I continue to urge the administration allow summertime sales of E15 as soon as possible. It will not only support our consumers, it’ll also support the nearly 300 retail stations in Iowa who want to provide a cleaner choice at the pump.

“Folks, the RFS is the law, and refiners have had over 15 years to come into compliance. Blend renewable fuels or buy RINs – it’s your choice. Any claim that RIN prices are increasing gas prices, is a bunch of hogwash.

“Refiners claim they need exemptions because RINs cost them money, but the last 3 administrations have said RIN prices do not cause harm to refiners. Small refinery exemptions go against congressional intent, and the Supreme Court reinforced this.

“A strong RFS supports rural America and increases consumer access to affordable, homegrown, clean-burning biofuel today, tomorrow, and for years to come.”

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