Shaheen, Collins Issue Bipartisan Call to EPA to Diversify Fuel Supply to Ease Rising Energy Costs

April 12, 2022

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to prioritize diversifying the United States’ fuel supply by using tools like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which would improve the nation’s energy security and ease the burden of rising energy prices facing Granite Staters, Mainers and Americans across the country.

In their letter, Shaheen and Collins underscored the impact of Putin’s war in Ukraine in driving up energy costs and the urgent need to utilize the RFS to promote home-grown fuels. They wrote, “Increased integration of advanced biofuels into the fuel stream can boost fuel supply and reduce reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels more broadly. Accordingly, we request that you increase final volume requirements for advanced biofuels in 2022 and propose robust volume obligations for 2023 and subsequent years in a timely manner. Ambitious targets would provide the stability and certainty needed to drive investments in the types of advanced biofuels that will further our energy independence while lowering greenhouse gas emissions, supporting rural economies and benefiting consumers.”

Shaheen and Collins went on to urge the EPA to approve applications and pathways for electricity produced from biomass, waste-to-energy and other renewable feedstocks to bolster the RFS. They pointed out that the RFS plays an important role in bringing advanced biofuels to the market that can have benefits beyond the transportation sector. The production of affordable and sustainable low- carbon fuels would also benefit consumers in the Northeast in particular, where nearly 20 percent of households continue to rely on heating oil to heat their homes. The cost of heating oil in New England began the winter season higher than recent years and has spiked to nearly $5 per gallon in recent weeks, placing a significant burden on consumers. Biodiesel and other renewable fuels play an increasingly important role in offering families in New England affordable alternatives to heating oil that can be used without costly modifications to their home heating systems.

The Senators’ letter can be read in full here.

Shaheen and Collins also previously urged the Environmental Protection Agency to level the playing field among fuel sources and address languishing applications under the renewable fuel standard program, including moving forward with allowing renewable electricity made from biomass to qualify if it is used to power electric vehicles. Shaheen has also co-led bipartisan legislation to that end. Shaheen and Collins’ legislation – the Community Wood Energy Innovation Act – was included in the Farm bill signed into law in 2018. Their bipartisan bill expanded eligibility for Community Wood Energy Program (CWEP), incentivizes investments in energy-efficient wood energy systems and supports facilities that repurpose low-grade, low-value wood that would otherwise be sent to landfills.