Budzinski, Sorensen Cosponsor New Legislation to Level the Playing Field for Ethanol

May 15, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Ethanol

Legislation introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives would remove an outdated provision from the Renewable Fuels Standard that prevents corn starch ethanol from being categorized as an advanced biofuel. The legislation recognizes the progress made in cutting the carbon intensity of ethanol since the RFS was enacted.


The bill, introduced by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and original cosponsors Reps. Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.), Eric Sorensen (D-Ill), Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) and Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.), would also require that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency use the more modern and accurate Argonne GREET model to assess the carbon reductions from biofuels under the RFS.


IL Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association support the legislation.


“For years, Illinois corn farmers have asked for the opportunity for corn-based ethanol to compete with other fuels based simply on the performance of the fuel. This legislation allows that and would eliminate the barriers and artificial ceilings corn-based ethanol has been held to in the past. Finally, ethanol will be credited for cleaning the air and protecting the environment!” said Matt Rush, President of IL Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Fairfield, IL.


Published analysis from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory concludes corn ethanol’s carbon intensity decreased 23 percent from 2005 to 2019 due to increased corn yield, reduced fertilizer intensity and improved ethanol production efficiency, with corn ethanol now between 44 and 52 percent lower in carbon intensity than the gasoline it replaces.


“We applaud Rep. Miller-Meeks and the original cosponsors for introducing legislation that recognizes the declining carbon intensity of today’s low-carbon ethanol and helps level the playing field,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “Farmers are proud to contribute to lowering ethanol’s carbon footprint through our production practices, and this bill would ensure EPA uses the most recent science and data to accurately measure the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of biofuels.”

Argonne’s analysis is consistent with recent research from Environmental Health and Engineering, with contributors from Harvard and Tufts Universities, that corn ethanol today is 46 percent lower in carbon intensity than gasoline, with the potential for further reductions from additional corn feedstock and production process improvements.

Begun in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the RFS requires transportation fuel sold in the United States contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. Under the law, advanced biofuels must deliver a 50 percent or more reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline, a requirement today’s ethanol now meets.