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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined her colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to request that he instruct the department to complete the full lifecycle assessment of soybean oil-based biodiesel, including direct and significant indirect emissions, before the end of the year.  

“As the Department of Agriculture (USDA) works to ensure the inclusion of agriculture-based biofuels as part of the effort to decarbonize our fuel supply, it’s critical that lifecycle carbon assessments of biofuels be based on current and sound science,” the senators wrote. “Fuels like biodiesel offer a sustainable, readily available source of emissions reductions, but full acknowledgement of such contributions require accurate data and modeling.

“We were encouraged by your response to a question for the record in your confirmation hearing, in which you committed to ‘request a review of the current literature and an evaluation of the benefit of a new study focused on biomass-based diesel.’ We write in support of such a review and request that you instruct USDA complete a full lifecycle assessment of soybean oil-based biodiesel, including direct and significant indirect emissions, before the end of the year,” they continued.

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Joining Senator Fischer in cosigning the letter were Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Josh Hawley (R-Miss.), and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.).

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Senator Fischer has been a leader in efforts to support ethanol producers. She urged USDA to protect biofuel producers hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and applauded the EPA’s announcement last month in support of the Tenth Circuit’s opinion in Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. EPA. Senator Fischer and her colleagues had written to the EPA’s then-administrator Andrew Wheeler warning that the issuance of additional exemptions would represent a “devastating blow” to biofuel producers and urged the agency to adhere to the 10th circuit ruling.

 

Senator Fischer has also cosponsored the Adopt Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Act last week. The bill would require EPA to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel. Read more about that bill here.