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40 senators seek higher biodiesel mandate

40 senators seek higher biodiesel mandate
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Forty senators are asking the Obama administration to increase the proposed volume for blending biodiesel into the nation’s fuel supply.

The senators, led by Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters Congress moves to ensure the greater availability of explosives detecting dogs in the US McConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday MORE (R-Mo.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.), argue that biodiesel volume the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed for 2018 is less than the industry’s production capacity.

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“The EPA’s 2018 proposal calls for just 100 million gallons in growth over the 2017 volume,” the bipartisan group of senators wrote Thursday to the EPA. “This does not capture the full potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states and should be strengthened to at least 2.5 billion gallons, an increase of 400 million gallons.”

The EPA proposed in May to require that refiners of traditional diesel blend 2 billion gallons of biodiesel into their supplies in 2017 and 2.1 billion gallons in 2018.

The mandate is part of the renewable fuel standard, which also includes annual ethanol mandates for gasoline.

“We urge you to continue to support higher [volumes] for biodiesel to encourage additional development and use of this fuel,” the senators said.

The National Biodiesel Board welcomed the letter and agreed with it.

“I think this letter reflects a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that biodiesel and renewable diesel are successfully delivering the economic and environmental benefits that Congress had in mind when it created the RFS,” Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the biodiesel group, said in a statement. “This is a success story, and hopefully this letter helps show the Obama administration and the EPA that we need to do more.