The Renewable Fuels Association’s summer Board of Directors meeting concluded Wednesday with more than a dozen virtual Capitol Hill visits. Board members had the chance to hear from senators, House members and administration officials. Discussions covered a broad range of topics, including the impact of COVID-19 on ethanol producers, trade challenges and opportunities around the world, E15 market expansion, and EPA implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“With the ethanol industry still attempting to recover from the double-whammy of COVID-19 and RFS small refinery exemptions, it is more important than ever for our member companies to speak directly to elected leaders in Congress and important administration officials,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “While COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with members of Congress and agency leaders, it remains crucially important that ethanol producers advocate for our industry and stay engaged in the political process. Wednesday’s virtual Day on the Hill gave our members an excellent opportunity to share their questions and concerns, but also their gratitude, with key leaders in our nation’s capital.”
Participants in the virtual meeting included Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Dick Durbin (D-IL); House Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Angie Craig (D-MN), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Cheri Bustos (D-IL). The event also included Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative; USDA Deputy Sec. Steve Censky; and Anne Idsal, principal deputy assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
RFA’s Cooper noted it was the perfect time for such a meeting, as the Senate this week is considering a fourth round of aid to address the impacts on the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s economy. Recently, RFA released a new analysis that found the COVID-19 crisis has already led to more than $3.4 billion in lost revenues for the U.S. ethanol industry and total damages in 2020 and 2021 could reach nearly $9 billion. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now has 58 retroactive renewable fuel volume waiver requests from the oil industry, spanning the years 2011-2018, on top of 28 listed so far for 2019-2020.