Tricia Braid

Sep 16, 2014  |  Today's News

Last week, our senior U.S. Senator, Mr. Dick Durbin, sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget chiding them for their handling of the RFS RVO numbers on ethanol. IL Corn gives a “hat tip” to Senator Durbin for speaking up on behalf of corn farmers, the ethanol industry, and motorists, too. We all save money at the pump when ethanol is included in our gasoline.

In a press release, Senator Durbin said, “The Administration’s proposed change to the Renewable Fuel Standard seriously missed the mark. As written, it would not only undermine our nation’s progress toward domestic energy independence, it would also threaten the thousands of jobs supported by our biofuels industry – including 5,400 in Illinois.”

We don’t have to tell you how important building and maintaining demand for corn is in a year like this. Speaking of “hat tips,” our hats are off to all corn farmers for growing an incredible crop this year. All signs point to big numbers on yield at this point. That’s an accomplishment of which you all can be proud.

But with big corn numbers typically come low corn prices. How do we find markets for all that corn? Reinstating the Congressionally derived RVO numbers in the RFS is one way. We certainly wouldn’t be in the same position had the U.S. EPA done their job in a timely fashion, carrying out the will of Congress.

It’s time for EPA to push this rule out the door and restore the RVO numbers at the level they were intended. Corn farmers did their part. The ethanol industry has done there. We need action in DC.

The full text of the Senator’s letter to OMB is below.

September 9, 2014


Hon. Shaun Donovan, Director
Office of Management and Budget
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Donovan:

I am writing to share serious concerns regarding EPA’s 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS.) Congress passed the RFS to increase the amount of renewable fuel utilized in our nation’s fuel supply, setting up a system that has worked for over 10 years. The Administration’s initial proposal was a significant step backward – undermining the goal of increasing biofuels production as a domestic alternative. As you review EPA’s final rule, I encourage you to ensure that it maintains strong support for and encourages ongoing growth in domestic biofuels.

The RFS promotes energy independence and domestic production of new fuel sources, strengthening national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The RFS has proven to be an overwhelming success, with annual production of domestic biofuels exceeding 13 billion gallons, displacing nearly 500 million barrels of imported foreign oil.

RFS has also enhanced domestic grain markets and expanded economic development opportunities in rural America. With 14 plants in Illinois, the ethanol industry alone supports more than 5,400 direct jobs and payroll exceeding $250 million annually. Illinois produced 1.65 billion gallons of ethanol in 2011. RFS has also provided enough certainty for investments in 5 biodiesel plants in Illinois.

EPA’s 2014 draft RVOs seriously missed the mark, potentially upsetting the progress made over the last 10 years and creating uncertainty in the biofuels community. I joined 30 of my Senate colleagues in calling on the EPA Administrator to fix the rule (attached). I remained concerned that the rule may still use flawed methodology and volume levels that undermine the long term goals of the RFS. To continue building on the success of RFS, the final rule should maintain volume levels at or above the 2013 RVOs and utilize a methodology that creates a clear path for future growth in the biofuels industry. 

As you complete your review of the final rule, I request that OMB ensure the final 2014 RVOs promotes investments in the next generation of biofuels and the infrastructure necessary to deploy those fuels into the market. Without a strong final rule, domestic biofuel investment may be permanently harmed bringing severe economic consequences and preventing growth of the domestic renewable fuel sector.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.



Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator