Growth Energy offered thanks to four governors, who sent a letter urging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to allocate additional resources under the COVID-19 relief package to address the “economic harm and job losses that biofuel producers are suffering.” An initial tranche of aid, announced yesterday by USDA, included welcome funding for farmers and ranchers, but no direct relief for U.S. biofuel producers.
“Biofuel plants are the beating heart of the rural economy, and strong support from USDA is vital to keeping U.S. agriculture intact through the worst of this crisis,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Ethanol production provides jobs for our communities, a market for our farmers, sanitizer for our hospitals, animal feed for livestock operations, clean fuel for our vehicles, and vital carbon dioxide (CO2) for meatpackers, and municipal water treatment. We’re grateful to rural champions like Governors Reynolds, Walz, Ricketts, and Noem who are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s biofuel industry to keep our vital supply chain moving.
“As more plants are forced to close, the damage will only continue to spread. We urge lawmakers and the USDA to take immediate, additional steps that are still needed to keep our plants open and protect the economic engine that will fuel America’s recovery.”
Signed by U.S. Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, the letter also offered a powerful rebuke against recent oil-backed efforts to “waive blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard for petroleum refineries.” They note, “Using this global pandemic as an excuse to undercut the RFS is not just illegal; it would also sever the economic lifeline that renewable fuels provide for farmers, workers and rural communities across the Midwest.”