Thirty-one members of the House Biofuels Caucus are pressing congressional leaders to include specific language for biofuels relief in the next COVID-19 relief package still at an impasse in Washington.
Led by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota; Rodney Davis, R-Illinois; Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa; and Roger Marshall, R-Kansas; 31 members of the caucus on Friday said biofuels producers need direct help.
"Demand for biofuels has declined more than 1.3 billion gallons since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic," the letter said.
"The biofuels sector has suffered from the steep drop in fuel demand that occurred when schools, workplaces, churches and other public places shut were closed by stay-at-home orders. Many biofuels plants reduced production to curb losses, while others shut down entirely. 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."
"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. Biofuels producers must be eligible for assistance in order to ramp production up to pre-pandemic levels in order to mitigate the negative impacts that the industry has experienced as a result of the coronavirus. We support language that would provide direct assistance for the biofuels sector, including language explicitly directing the secretary of agriculture to provide direct assistance to producers and processors of renewable fuels."
The lawmakers ask leaders of the House and Senate to include language, for example, that would require the secretary of agriculture 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. By providing this assistance, rural America will continue to reap long-term benefits of a strong biofuels economy," the letter said.
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN
© (c) Copyright 2020 DTN, LLC. All rights reserved.