Sen. Chuck Grassley

Iowa’s two U.S. senators are among several lawmakers who will meet today with Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt.

They’re trying to urge him to raise the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations for biodiesel and to abandon the agency’s plans to cut production of biofuels next year.

Senator Chuck Grassley says biofuels are the backbone of many local economies, especially across Iowa.

“I have made it very clear that the EPA’s latest proposal under the Renewable Fuel Standard would break the president’s commitments on this issue,” Grassley says. “By the way, the president’s commitment was made during the campaign, so he’s got a mandate to carry that out.”

The EPA proposes holding the biomass-based diesel volume stagnant for 2019 while reducing the advanced biofuel volume for 2018.

According to Grassley, these proposed volume cuts could hamstring potential growth in the industry while causing near-term job losses in the Midwest.

“This issue, if Pruitt’s plans go through, would hurt rural America,” Grassley says. “It would hurt Iowa for sure, the number-one producer of biofuels.”

Great progress is being made through the Renewable Fuel Standard in diversifying our nation’s fuel supply, Grassley said in a letter to Pruitt. The EPA chief is being urged to support higher Renewable Volume Obligations for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels in the final rule to encourage more development and use of the fuel.

Grassley says, “This common-sense step would help create jobs, diversify our energy supply and make America less reliant upon foreign sources of energy.” The industry is poised for growth, Grassley says, and if the EPA sends the market signals by reducing volumes, it’s disruptive, unprecedented and very troubling.

“Renewable energies like biofuels are a backbone of so many local economies across the Midwest,” Grassley says. “You’ve heard me say it’s good for farmers. It’s good for good-paying jobs in rural America. It’s good for the environment. It’s good for our national defense not to be so dependent on foreign sources.”

According to a study conducted last year, the 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel used by Americans in 2015 supported 47,400 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages, and had an $8.4 billion economic impact.