Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to urge the Biden administration to address languishing biomass applications under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program. The letter was co-signed by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (R-WI), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
Allowing renewable electricity made from biomass to qualify for the RFS program if it is used to power electric vehicles would level the playing field among fuel sources. It would also enable biomass power plants to generate and sell credits under the RFS program to refiners that must meet national renewable fuel targets.
“Farmers, foresters, local governments and small business owners nationwide have been adversely impacted by the inability to participate in the RFS due to agency inaction on renewable facility registration applications involving approved fuel pathways and petitions for approval of additional fuel pathways,” the Senators wrote. “Biogas, biomass and waste-to-energy electricity producers need the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to approve their participation in this important program.”
The Senators continued their letter by underscoring that the production of cellulosic biofuel electricity from RFS-approved feedstocks helps drive the growth and development of sustainable agriculture, forestry and the rural economy, and it supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The lawmakers urged EPA Administrator Regan to make addressing the obstacles that limit biomass power generation and forest-based industries a top priority. The Senators’ bipartisan letter mirrors concerns shared by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to address the backlog of advanced biofuel registrations to allow more fuel producers to participate in the RFS. Congress has historically worked together – across party lines – to take action and provide guidance and funding for the EPA to process these applications.
The Senators closed their letter, “Approving these backlogged applications and petitions, which the EPA has existing authority to do, will help the U.S. advance its clean energy goals while supporting local economies in rural America.”
Click HERE to read the full letter.
Senators Collins and Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation – the Community Wood Energy Innovation Act – was included in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 that was signed into law in December 2018. Their bipartisan bill expanded eligibility for CWEP, incentivized investments in energy-efficient wood energy systems, and supported facilities that repurpose low-grade, low-value wood that would otherwise be sent to landfills.