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Biofuels Caucus Requests Direct Aid for Renewable Fuel Producers
South Dakota Ag Connection - 08/10/2020

Representatives Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Dave Loebsack, (D-IA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL), co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, led a letter with 31 members of Congress to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, to request additional resources for the biofuels sector in the next piece of coronavirus relief legislation.

"Biofuels production is a major piece of the rural economy in our districts, and we urge you to explicitly include much-needed assistance for the sector in the next piece of coronavirus relief legislation. For example, language requiring the Secretary to provide a per-gallon payment to producers for renewable fuels produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This mandate from Congress is necessary to ensure that the United States Department of Agriculture has the statutory authority they deem necessary to provide aid to the biofuels sector, and to guarantee assistance for the farmers and plant workers."

As a result of state mandated closures and stay at home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the biofuels industry has already seen a reduction in demand for corn by over 500 million bushels. As a result, many biofuels plants reduced production to curb losses, while others shut down entirely.

The House passed Heroes Act includes language authored by Congressman Peterson to provide a per-gallon payment to biofuels producers for fuel produced during the COVID-19 emergency. The bipartisan Biofuels Caucus supports the inclusion of this language in the next Coronavirus relief bill.

The following members of Congress also signed the letter: Cindy Axne (D-IA), Don Bacon (R-NE), James R. Baird (R-IN) Mike Bost (R-IL) Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Andre Carson (D-IN), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Angie Craig (D-MN), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Sam Graves (R-MO), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Ron Kind (D-WI), Steve King (R-IA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Jason Smith (R-MO), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN).

Biofuels groups have expressed their support for the funding assistance:

- Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor: "We're grateful to our congressional champions who are working overtime to stop the bleeding and offer hope for farm communities. With continued uncertainty around COVID-19, and states, like California, Texas, and Florida returning to lockdown, the stakes are too high to leave any stone unturned. Leaders in Congress must work quickly to protect rural jobs and give us the certainty we need to rebuild America's agricultural supply chain."

- Renewable Fuels Association CEO and President Geoff Cooper: "We sincerely thank these leaders in the House for their determined efforts to secure targeted and specific emergency relief for renewable fuel producers in the pending stimulus legislation. The ethanol industry has already lost more than $3.4 billion in revenues due to COVID-19 and economic damages continue to mount, as fuel demand and prices remain well below normal levels. These Representatives understand the importance of renewable fuels and they know we simply cannot afford to leave behind our nation's rural communities and the 350,000 jobs supported by the ethanol industry."

- National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross: "Corn demand, farm commodity prices and rural communities have all felt the impact of significant disruptions in the biofuels market. As Congressional Leaders work to find agreement on a new recovery package, NCGA appreciates the work of the House Biofuels Caucus to direct USDA to provide assistance to biofuel producers and help keep this vital corn market stabilized and functioning."

- National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust: "The last six months have been some of the most difficult in the history of the ethanol industry and U.S. agriculture more broadly. The demand destruction that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic further illustrates the dire need for support for the U.S. ethanol industry and more outlets for their products. We greatly appreciate the work of the House Agriculture Committee and call on Congress to support ethanol producers during this difficult time."


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