U.S. Democratic lawmakers urge Biden not to reduce biofuel mandates By Reuters
By Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A group of U.S. Democratic lawmakers called on President Joe Biden to halt a plan to slash the amount of biofuels that oil refiners must blend into their fuel, according to a letter dated Monday.
According to lawmakers, the move is a violation of Biden’s promise to preserve the U.S. agricultural economy. It follows Reuters’ report that Biden’s government may make big changes to biofuel blending regulations.
Even though no formal announcement has been made about the plans, it caused uproar among both farming and biofuel supporters, who enjoy the multi-billion dollar market that the regulations have created for their products.
This letter arrives at an important time for Biden’s presidency. Biden’s domestic agenda includes a $1 Trillion infrastructure bill and $3.5 Trillion social spending package. The Democratic Party has a dispute with them. It cannot be afforded to lose votes and anger Democratic members.
In a letter, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cheri Bustos (Illinois) expressed reservations over the potential actions of the administration to reduce biofuel volume requirements by billions of gallon from the year 2020-2022.
The letter stated that this action “would directly undermine your commitments to climate change mitigation and restoration of integrity to Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)”,
Biden, during his presidency campaign, pledged to support the Renewable Fuel Standard. It requires refiners to blend millions of gallon biofuels into their fuel mix or tradeable credits from countries that use them.
Biden pledged his support for aggressive climate change targets in his first year of presidency. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the impact of ethanol on carbon dioxide emissions, which is the most commonly used biofuel, depends on the way it’s made, and whether land-use impacts are taken into account.
The 2020 and 2021 blend requirements would be applied retroactively with the 2021 requirements being late by 10 month.
Some believe that the administration may be trying to avoid intra-party disputes before voting on the infrastructure or social spending package.
The farm lobby backs the mandates. However, the refiners claim they are too expensive and could force their employees and refineries out of business.
Separate letters were sent by Republican and Democratic legislators from Pennsylvania to Biden earlier in the month, asking his administration to reform the RFS to support independent U.S refiners.
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