Black Caucus members back RFS in letter to EPA

By Holly Jessen | November 03, 2015

Sixteen members of the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter to the U.S. EPA Nov. 2, showing their support for the renewable fuel standard (RFS).

“As you finalize the proposed rules under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), we respectfully urge you to not reduce the biofuels volume requirement,” a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “The RFS program has helped the environment, our economy, and has increased our confidence in renewable fuels. Renewable fuels like cellulosic and advanced biofuels have reduced greenhouse gas and carbon emission to an equivalent of removing more than 124 million cars from the roads. The result of this reduction is an increase in air quality. Poor air quality particularly affects those in urban areas and communities of color.”

The letter pointed to many positives of the RFS, including greenhouse gas reductions, providing an incentive for investments into biofuel production and technology and job creation. Reducing the biofuels volume numbers “could have a chilling effect on innovation” and therefore have an effect on jobs. “With unemployment at an average of 10 percent in minority communities, it is important that we do not obstruct an entire industry that has created 842,000 American jobs and has the potential to create more,” the letter said.

They also poked holes in the EPA argument that lack of infrastructure is a reason to lower the biofuel volume requirements suggested by Congress. “We know that the oil industry largely controls that infrastructure,” the letter said. If we accept the argument that infrastructure is a limiting factor in setting blending targets, we remove all incentive for the oil industry to invest in biofuel.”

According to a press release from Rep. Donald Payne, Jr., D-New Jersey,who led the 15 other Congressmen in signing the letter, these other organizations have also announced support for the RFS: Abengoa Bioenergy, ACORE, ADM Energy Research & Evaluation, American Coalition for Ethanol, Advanced Ethanol Council, AEM, American Security Project, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, DSM, DuPont, Energy Future Coalition, Enogen, Fuels America, Growth Energy, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, Nexsteppe, Novozymes, Poet, Renewable Fuels Association, UAW, Vote Vets, 25x25.