DuPont employees write letter to Tommey, defend RFS

By Holly Jessen | October 16, 2015

Forty DuPont employees signed a letter sent recently to Sen. Pat Tommey, R-Penn., making it clear they oppose his efforts to modify the renewable fuel standard (RFS) in any way.  Tommey was unsuccessful at recent efforts to add an amendment to a bill about crude oil export, which would have eliminated the RFS corn-ethanol blending targets. 

“As Pennsylvania residents, registered voters and DuPont biofuels employees that support science driven innovation to solve some of the world’s most serious challenges, we absolutely oppose your efforts to repeal the corn ethanol mandate in the RFS and any other legislative initiatives to repeal or modify the RFS,” the letter said. It was signed by DuPont’s James Collins, executive vice president, William Feehery president, and Jan Koninckx global business director of biorefineries, and 37 other DuPont employees.

The letter went on to say that proposals to modify the RFS undercut the existing biofuels industry as well as prevent investments in advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol. “These new technologies are not dependent on additional sources of food-based feedstocks and will significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the U.S. transportation sector,” the letter said.

The company works within the entire supply chain for biofuels, from seed corn, crop protection and enzymes for first and second generation ethanol. In late October, DuPont will hold a grand opening celebration at its 30 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. The company’s joint venture with BP is Butamax, a project to develop biobutanol.

The letter touched on job creation, economic development and state and federal tax contributions, by the U.S. ethanol industry, pointing to an economic impact report releases by Fuels America.

“The existing biofuels industry has had a significant impact on an improved agriculture economy and ethanol is less expensive than gasoline, reducing gas prices,” the letter said.

Investments in the industry comes with many benefits, DuPont said, such as jobs, reduced environmental impact and positive impacts to the economy and national security, due to decreased reliance on foreign oil. “To realize these benefits, rather than gift these investments to China and Brazil, businesses and investors need stable and predictable policies,” the letter said. “We implore you to reconsider your stance on the RFS and work with us to create the right incentives for the biofuels industry to move beyond current technologies.”

The full letter is available online.