Bill creates grant program to expand ethanol infrastructure

By Erin Voegele | February 08, 2021

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Feb. 8 reintroduced legislation to create a renewable fuel infrastructure grant program and streamline regulatory requirements to help fuel retailers sell higher blends of ethanol.

The bill, titled the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act, would authorize $500 million over five years for infrastructure grants to fuel retailers. It would also direct the U.S. EPA to finalize a proposed rule to repeal E15 labeling requirements and allow certain existing underground storage tanks to store higher blends of ethanol.

The Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and Growth Energy have spoken out in support of the bill.

“Senators Klobuchar and Ernst are demonstrating the kind of bipartisan leadership necessary to ensure biofuels play a leading role in helping the U.S. achieve net-zero emissions by midcentury,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “While electric vehicles (EVs) are getting a lot of attention lately, experts conclude EVs alone will fail to reach President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions in the U.S. by 2050, and that increased use of biofuels will be required to help address the emissions gap. A recent study by Harvard validates what ACE has been saying for years; today’s corn ethanol is nearly 50 percent cleaner than gasoline. This vital legislation would ensure infrastructure parity for biofuels and EVs and help ethanol continue to be part of the solution to climate change.”

“We thank Senators Klobuchar and Ernst for their determined efforts to drive investment in our nation’s renewable fuels infrastructure,” CEO Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “If enacted, this legislation would greatly expand the availability of low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol in the marketplace, resulting in cleaner air, lower fuel prices and a more vibrant rural economy. We know retailers want to offer smarter fuel options to their customers, but antiquated regulatory burdens often prevent them from moving ahead. This legislation would ensure that overly restrictive provisions are streamlined or removed, allowing small businesses across the nation to provide cleaner and more affordable options to American drivers.”

“We applaud Senators Klobuchar and Ernst for leading a bipartisan effort that promises to fuel the next wave of growth in rural communities and expand cleaner, more affordable options for all American motorists,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Higher biofuel blends play a vital role in America’s fight against climate change, and the transition to E15 alone could slash greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 18 million tons per year – equal to removing 3.85 million vehicles from the road. With support from our champions in Congress, and fewer roadblocks at EPA, there’s no reason why every driver in America cannot take advantage of low-carbon biofuels to reduce their own footprint while saving money at the pump. We urge leaders in Congress and at EPA to ensure that biofuels remain a top infrastructure priority as we work to fast-track America’s climate progress and ensure healthy air for all.”