WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined a bipartisan group of 38 senators in sending a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarty, urging the EPA to continue the trend of increasing support for the nation’s renewable fuel sector. Ohio produces nearly half-a-billion gallons per year of ethanol, more than 60 million gallons of biodiesel, and is home to cutting edge advanced cellulosic fuel projects. Brown is a long-time supporter of sensible biofuel production that promotes Ohio agriculture and reduces the need for foreign oil.

“A strong RFS, and more biofuels, make our country more secure.  It increases competition and choice, strengthening our economy,” the senators wrote.

Last month, the EPA released a draft of its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations for 2017 and biomass-based diesel requirements for 2018 which fails to hit the targets set by Congress. Low production requirements threaten investment in the domestic biofuel sector and hinders the development of advanced biofuels.

Full text of the letter is available below.


June 24, 2016


The Honorable Gina McCarthy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460


Dear Administrator McCarthy:

We are writing regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule setting blending targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2017.  We urge you to ensure that the final rule promote growth in the U.S. biofuel sector and capture economic opportunity rather than drive investment overseas. 

When Congress adopted the RFS in 2005, and expanded it in 2007, it intended to put in place a stable, forward-looking policy to drive innovation and investments in biorefining capacity and distribution infrastructure to bring biofuels to American consumers.

The stability of the policy has led to hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in the biofuels sector.  America’s production capacity has expanded more than threefold since 2005 with fuels such as biodiesel, cellulosic, recycled-waste, algal and other advanced biofuels.  The biofuel industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the country, reduces the environmental impact of our transportation and energy sectors, and cuts our reliance on foreign oil.

As a result of the Agency’s consideration of distribution infrastructure when setting the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for 2014, 2015, and 2016, contrary to the clearly defined waiver authority provided by Congress, biofuel investment has fallen and projects are moving overseas.

We cannot afford to cede our leadership position in the world.  A strong RFS, and more biofuels, make our country more secure.  It increases competition and choice, strengthening our economy.  We urge you to take the opportunity to get the program back on track by setting blending targets where Congress intended and by removing the distribution waiver.