Hagedorn, Bustos Introduce Bill to Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Encourage Low-Carbon Fuel Production

November 18, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would lower greenhouse gas emissions and encourage low-carbon fuel production. The Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act would help biofuels plants cut through red tape in order to increase production of cellulosic biomass into renewable fuels.

"This legislation is an important step toward improving clean energy technology and efficiency with the help of corn producers and the ethanol industry,” said Congressman Hagedorn. “By forcing the EPA to make timely decisions on these applications, we are opening new markets that will power southern Minnesota communities and the nation’s economy. I'm extremely pleased to work in bipartisan fashion with Congresswoman Bustos on this important initiative."

“Reducing greenhouse gases while investing in renewable fuels means we must take steps to help our biofuels producers utilize every available fuel source, while supporting our corn farmers,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act with Congressman Hagedorn. By cutting red tape and ensuring that producers receive a timely response from the EPA, we can encourage the use of cellulosic biomass in low-carbon, renewable fuel production and continue to create cleaner, more environmentally-friendly fuels.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires energy producers to utilize low-carbon, renewable fuels. Cellulosic biomass, a non-food product that can be used as an energy source, can be utilized to produce low-carbon, renewable fuels with a 60 percent reduction on greenhouse gas emissions, compared to nonrenewable fuels. The increased use of cellulosic biomass to produce renewable fuels could greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the environment.

However, in order to process cellulosic biomass under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must approve applications on behalf of biofuels producers.

The EPA has refused to act on dozens of applications on behalf of biofuels producers. The Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act would force the EPA to act on outstanding applications and compel the EPA to accept applications if, after 90 days, the fuel could participate in at least one state’s clean transportation program.

Read more about the Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act.

“We applaud Representatives Bustos and Hagedorn for introducing this legislation to streamline pathways for low-carbon biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Unnecessary delays have stalled progress on the biofuels industry’s ability to harness clean energy from agricultural residue, corn fiber, and waste. We know that cellulosic technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% or more, providing options for negative-emissions liquid fuels and providing a low-cost alternative to petroleum-based aromatics that poison our air and threaten our health. This important legislation will help clear the deck on long-overdue approvals and jumpstart growth in these innovative technologies at a time when revitalizing rural communities has never been more important.”

“POET applauds Representatives Bustos and Hagedorn for their leadership on this important issue. Renewable fuels are a critical part of the solution in the fight against climate change, and our nation needs to use every tool at its disposal,” said Josh Shields, Senior Vice President of External Affairs. “The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has long promised not only low-carbon fuel from corn starch, but also that which can be made from additional feedstocks and energy-dedicated crops. While companies like POET have honored our commitment to developing these fuels with billions of dollars of research, EPA has consistently prevented our applications from moving forward and left us with little to no incentive to continue our vital research and development in this area of energy innovation. This legislation will remedy the EPA logjam and get our nation back on the right path to pursuing the zero-carbon liquid fuel option that drivers will need to overcome our reliance on fossil fuels.”

“We applaud Congresswoman Bustos and Congressman Hagedorn for proposing a bipartisan and common sense solution to the regulatory logjam blocking cellulosic biofuels from the consumer marketplace,” said Brooke Coleman, Director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. “There are dozens of registration applications in seemingly perpetual review at EPA, freezing the commercial deployment of low-carbon, cellulosic biofuels and discouraging investment in U.S. innovation. This legislation takes the critical first step of recognizing the problem and forcing EPA to rule on long-overdue pathway and registration petitions. The cellulosic biofuels industry is ready to help decarbonize and revitalize the U.S. economy - solving the EPA registration problem is a critical piece of the puzzle.”

“The Biomass Power Association is grateful to Rep. Bustos and Rep. Hagedorn for introducing this bill and holding EPA to account for the qualifying fuels it hasn't yet included in the RFS,” said Carrie Annand, executive director of Biomass Power Association. “Electricity producers have been waiting for nearly 13 years to be included in the program, even after RFS2 made clear that electricity generated from approved feedstocks qualifies to generate RINs. It's time for the EPA to do its job by processing applications for electricity producers and others to participate in the RFS. We urge swift approval and enactment of this bill.”

“The American Biogas Council (ABC) is very thankful for the introduction of this bill by Representatives Bustos and Hagedorn.  We believe it proposes a reasonable solution to a long running problem which has led to delays in the development of biogas to electricity projects,” stated Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the ABC. “As a result of the unprocessed applications at EPA, many biogas developers have decided to forgo applying to the program rather than devoting resources to a process that would leave them in limbo.  Biogas projects want to participate in the RFS by making electricity.  We are hopeful this legislation will enable them to do so.”

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) carry the legislation in the Senate.

Jim Hagedorn was elected in 2018 to represent Minnesota’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He grew up on his family’s grain and livestock farm near Truman. Jim’s father, former U.S. Congressman Tom Hagedorn (MN-02), grandfather, and great-grandfather were all southern Minnesota farmers. Jim currently resides in the rural farming community of Blue Earth. Hagedorn brings policy experience to Capitol Hill from time spent as a congressional aide to former U.S. Congressman Arlan Stangeland (MN-07) and a congressional relations officer for two non-partisan U.S. Department of the Treasury agencies. Hagedorn serves on the House Committees on Agriculture and Small Business to promote farming, Main Street enterprises and southern Minnesota’s way of life.