Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) joined her colleagues on the Congressional Biofuels Caucus in a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to prioritize homegrown, renewable biofuels as a replacement for Russian energy sources.

The letter comes after Congress banned the importation of Russian oil earlier this month. In their letter, the Members applauded the decision to ban imports of Russian oil and natural gas into the United States and argued that a renewed emphasis on renewable fuels would lower fuel prices for American consumers by more than $12 billion annually, generate substantial economic growth in rural communities and significantly decrease American dependence on foreign oil producers like Russia.

“To ensure that this ban – and future actions that the U.S. may need to take to defeat Russian aggression – is economically sustainable for the American economy and American people, we urge you to consider the following actions that would prioritize homegrown and renewable biofuels,” the Members wrote. “Taken together, these actions would significantly increase U.S. energy independence, lower prices at the pump and ensure the continued success of our sanctions on the Russian economy.”

Illinois Congresswoman Bustos Urges Biden Administration to Prioritize Biofuels to Reduce Gas Prices

Cheri Bustos

The letter asks the President to consider directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow the summer sales of E15 this year and to direct the EPA to reverse course on proposed retroactive reductions to 2020 and 2021 Renewable Volume Obligations. As of today – and barring any action by Congress or the President – the summer sales of E15 in Illinois and other states will be prohibited beginning on June 1, 2022 due to a D.C. Circuit Court decision on the Clean Air Act in July of 2021.

You can find the full text of the letter here and below.

March 31, 2022

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear President Biden:

 

Russia’s unjustified and brutal attack on Ukrainian sovereignty and Ukrainian citizens demands the type of unified domestic and international response that the United States has led over the past month. Given the Russian economy’s reliance on petroleum exports, banning the importation of Russian oil and natural gas into the United States was the right decision.

 

To ensure that this ban – and future actions that the U.S. may need to take to defeat Russian aggression – is economically sustainable for the American economy and American people, we urge you to consider the following actions that would prioritize homegrown and renewable biofuels. Taken together, these actions would significantly increase U.S. energy independence, lower prices at the pump and ensure the continued success of our sanctions on the Russian economy.

 

Permanently reinstate the year-round availability of E15 by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its authority pursuant to Section 211(c)(4)(C)(ii) of the Clean Air Act or by taking executive action to respond to a potential energy crisis triggered by Russian aggression on the international stage.

 

Support ethanol and biodiesel by directing the EPA to reverse its course on the proposed retroactive reduction to 2020 and 2021 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) and adhere to the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) statutory obligations.

 

Upholding the RFS and permanently reinstating the year-round availability of E-15 would lower fuel prices for hardworking Americans. Ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable diesel add to the nation’s fuel supply, lowering prices at the pump for nearly every consumer good that moves along the supply chain. Over the last decade, wholesale ethanol has saved consumers 17% when compared to wholesale gasoline. A recent report indicated that a nationwide shift to E15 could collectively save U.S. consumers more than $12 billion annually. And according to a recent World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services (WAEES) study, availability of biodiesel and renewable diesel has saved consumers an average of 31 cents per gallon at the pump over the last ten years.

 

These actions would generate economic growth in rural communities that would reduce the impact of inflation on Americans’ pocketbooks. For example, ensuring the year-round availability of E15 would support an additional 182,600 jobs and generate an additional $17.8 billion in economic activity. Because ethanol production involves U.S. farmers and processing plants located in rural communities, these benefits would be most directly felt in rural America.

 

Finally, these actions would significantly increase U.S. energy independence and lessen the domestic impact of our ban on Russian energy imports by replacing them with U.S. biofuels. For example, about 8% of U.S. imports of oil and refined petroleum products come from Russia. Ensuring the year-round sale of E15 would potentially replace up to 5% of the liquid petroleum-based gasoline in the U.S. transportation sector with homegrown biofuels. Protecting the RFS from retroactive reductions will ensure that biodiesel can fill liquid energy deficiencies created by trade and market instability.

 

The American people and this Congress stand united in our resolve to support the Ukrainian people in the face of Russian aggression and imperialism. We will take the actions necessary to ensure democracy in Ukraine endures. Increasing domestic energy production is an important part of our effort to sustain sanctions on the Russian economy, and we urge you to increase U.S. energy independence and decrease inflationary pressures at the pump by directing the EPA to ensure the uninterrupted year-round sales of E15 and to protect the integrity of the RFS.

 

Thank you for your consideration of these necessary actions.

Illinois Congresswoman Bustos Urges Biden Administration to Prioritize Biofuels to Reduce Gas Prices
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
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Illinois Congresswoman Bustos Urges Biden Administration to Prioritize Biofuels to Reduce Gas Prices

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