REPS. CRAIG, BUSTOS, FINKENAUER AND AXNE SECURE BIOFUEL SUPPORT IN HEROES ACT

May 13, 2020
Press Release

After leading a call for biofuel support to be included in the next COVID-19 legislative relief package, U.S. House Representatives Angie Craig (MN-02), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) and Cindy Axne (IA-03) successfully secured support for the industry as part of the Heroes Act.

The HEROES Act includes direct assistance for the biofuels industry. It would provide biofuels producers with $0.45/gallon for all biofuels (including corn starch ethanol) produced between Jan 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, and if production was halted for any time in that window, half of that rate (22.5 c/gallon) for the amount produced during that same time period in 2019. This equates to $2.25B in direct assistance for biofuels producers.

Yesterday, the group led a letter to House leadership, warning that a struggling biofuel industry could have cascading effects on the entire agriculture sector. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for biofuel production has fallen to record lows, with nearly 150 biofuel plants falling idle or cutting production, leaving many producers unable to make ends meet. As biofuel demand has waned, corn and soybean production prices have fallen by 15 and 10 percent, respectively. With projections showing deep losses, 350,000 American jobs could be at risk.

“Prices are at record lows, and producers are unable to make ends meet,” the lawmakers wrote. “These dire statistics translate into devastating economic impacts throughout the economy, as rural job losses mount in our districts, agricultural commodity prices fall precipitously, hurting farmers, and shortages of biofuel co-products impact food security.

The health of the agriculture sector is directly tied to the health of the biofuel industry.”

“We thank Reps. Bustos, Finkenauer, Axne, Craig and the other six House Democrats for their letter urging Speaker Pelosi to ensure emergency relief measures for renewable fuels are included in the next COVID-19 package.  The ethanol industry is facing the worst crisis in its 40-year history, and roughly half of the industry remains shut down today, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk. These leaders understand that rural communities across the nation depend on the renewable fuels industry for job creation, economic vitality, and new market opportunities for farmers. They know we cannot afford to leave behind such a vital sector of the economy, and we are grateful for their dedicated leadership,” said Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association.

“We are deeply grateful to Reps. Bustos, Axne, Craig, Finkenauer, and all our champions in the House who are fighting to make the recovery in rural America a top priority for Congress,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The crisis biofuel producers face is an unprecedented threat to America’s agricultural supply chain. But with support from our leaders in Washington, we can be ready to swiftly restore demand for America’s farmers and revitalize growth as conditions improve.”

The letter was also signed by Reps. Dave Loebsack, Mark Pocan, Collin Peterson, Ron Kind, Lauren Underwood and Kendra Horn.

The text of the letter can be found here:

 

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