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Heitkamp Urges New EPA Acting Director to Protect RFS & Visit North Dakota
Heitkamp also Urges Acting Director Andrew Wheeler to Support Yearlong Sale of E15, Other Policies that Protect North Dakota's Rural Economy Senator has Pushed Back on Refinery Waivers that Hurt ND Farmers & Biofuel Producers
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today urged Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and live up to the administration's commitment to a strong RFS and the yearlong sale of E15. Heitkamp invited Wheeler to visit North Dakota to see firsthand the impact of EPA policies on farmers, ranchers, and energy producers in the state.
As the agency rewrites the Clean Power Plan and revises its Waters of the United States regulations, Heitkamp also urged the new EPA Acting Administrator to take North Dakota's unique energy generation and environmental needs into account and make sure they work for the state.
"The former EPA administrator did not keep his commitment to protect biofuels and promote the yearlong sale of E15, so it's essential that we make it crystal clear to the new Acting Director of the EPA that we expect promises made to be promises kept," Heitkamp said. "I'm inviting Acting Administrator Wheeler to visit North Dakota to see firsthand the impact that EPA policies have on jobs and our rural economy - from corn, soybean, and canola farmers to ethanol producers like Red Trail Energy in Richardton, which I recently visited. The EPA shapes policy that affects a wide swath of North Dakota's economy, and I look forward to working with the new Acting Director on pragmatic solutions to our energy, agriculture, and environmental challenges."
In recent meetings with farmers and biofuel producers across the state, Heitkamp has heard concerns about the EPA's improper use of refinery waivers that undermine the RFS and hurt North Dakota's farm economy. In a recent bipartisan push, Heitkamp expressed deep concerns about the administration's use of waivers that contradict the commitments the president has made to protect the RFS.
Heitkamp has been fighting for a strong RFS and against efforts to undermine the important program for North Dakota farmers and ethanol producers. She has repeatedly pressed the administration to uphold its commitment to a strong RFS, and led a bipartisan push to urge the EPA to increase its proposed 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for biodiesel.
Heitkamp has also been fighting for year-round sale of E15 fuel to boost North Dakota farmers and biofuel producers. The administration has said it supports E15, but has yet to follow through on a commitment to allow yearlong sale of the fuel blend.
Heitkamp recently toured Red Trail Energy in Richardton, N.D., where she discussed the need to protect the RFS to support job-creating facilities like Red Trail and the farmers who grow crops for biofuel production. Red Trail is a biofuel plant that converts corn into renewable ethanol, supporting North Dakota farmers and playing a critical role in an all-of-the-above energy strategy that boosts North Dakota's economy.
As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Heitkamp has long been a vocal advocate for biodiesel and ethanol - industries that support over 400,000 American jobs, including many in North Dakota. For years, Heitkamp has fought for the EPA to provide certainty to farmers and biofuels workers, and has continually pressed the agency to issue a strong RFS. Nearly 50 percent of all corn in North Dakota can be used in the production of ethanol.