U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) pressed a key White House official on the need to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) strong to bolster investments in the biodiesel industry, spur job growth in our rural economies, and decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, reports Minnesota Ag Connection.
Franken was joined at the meeting by Sens. Heitkamp, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).
In the meeting in his Senate office with John Podesta, senior White House official and special advisor to the President, Sen. Franken and nine other Senators urged the Administration to reverse course on a proposal from the EPA that would hurt the biofuels industry. If the proposal is accepted, investments in Minnesota’s homegrown energy–like biodiesel and ethanol–would be set back and job growth in our rural economies would slow down.
“Homegrown renewable energy, like biofuels, not only spurs job growth and economic development in Minnesota, but it also strengthens our national energy security by cutting our reliance on foreign oil,” said Sen. Franken, chairman of the Senate Energy Subcommittee. “That’s why now is exactly the wrong time for the EPA to try to weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard and allow big oil companies to blend less biodiesel and other renewables into our nation’s gas supply. I pressed for this meeting because we need to renew our commitment to renewables, and we can start by reversing this shortsighted proposal.”
“Homegrown biofuels are powering growth and innovation in local communities in Minnesota and across the country,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “We need to do everything we can to support the expansion of these fuels, which will help create good jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I have been pushing the Administration to change its proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard targets, and I will continue to fight efforts to undermine this vital program.”
Last month, Sens. Franken and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) led a group in asking for today’s meeting with the Administration to be updated on biodiesel portions of the proposed rule. Sen. Franken, chairman of the Senate Energy Subcommittee, has written to the President and joined Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in asking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to express opposition to any cuts to the RFS.