Bill authorizes $600 million to support biofuel infrastructure

By Erin Voegele | April 28, 2020

Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, on April 28 announced the introduction of the Clean Fuels Deployment Act of 2020. The bill aims to provide funding for installing and converting fuel pump infrastructure to deliver higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minnesota; Don Bacon, R-Nebraska; and Roger Marshall, R-Kansas.

The bill authorizes $600 million over six years to help retailers offer higher ethanol blends, expand the geographic area selling ethanol blends, support biodiesel, Bioheat, and sustainable aviation fuel markets, and accelerate the deployment of fueling infrastructure.

The legislation directs the secretary of transportation to establish a grant program to award grants to eligible entities that will be used cover costs related to incentivizing deployment of fueling infrastructure; converting existing pump infrastructure to deliver ethanol blends of greater than 10 percent and biodiesel blends of greater than 20 percent; and the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends at fueling locations. Funding could also be provided to help build and retrofit traditional and pipeline terminals, including rail lines, to blend biodiesel, and to build and retrofit pipelines to carry ethanol and biodiesel. 

The bill requires any infrastructure used or installed with funds provided under the program to be certified by Underwriters Laboratory to distribute blends with an ethanol content of 25 percent or greater.  

Grants awarded under the program could cover up to 75 percent of the per pump cost for pumps that can dispense ethanol blends up to and including E85, and dedicated E15 and E85 pumps. Grants could be awarded to cover up to 50 percent of the terminal costs for terminals with B100 capabilities, and up to 25 percent of the per tank cost for new storage tanks and related equipment associated with new facilities or additional capacity, other than replacement.

The bill authorizes $100 million each for fiscal years 2021 through 2026 to support the grant program.

“The time is now to further diversify our fuel supply and move more biofuels into the market,” Finkenauer said. “Biofuels offer a proven path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonizing the transportation sector, driving economic growth and creating jobs. Im grateful to have bipartisan support from Reps. Bacon, Craig and Marshall. Cleaner fuels are good for our economy and our environment, and we’re going to keep fighting for them.”

Several biofuel groups have spoken out in support of the Clean Fuels Deployment Act of 2020.

“The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association thanks Rep. Finkenauer for leading the way on legislation to expand consumer access to cleaner-burning biofuels,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “At a time when fuel demand is down nationwide and farmers and biofuel producers are hurting, it is more important than ever that drivers have access to higher blends of biofuels at the pump. When given the option, drivers choose time and time again to fill up with biofuel blends that are better for the environment and support American jobs. This bill would go a long way to ensuring more Americans have that choice.”

“On behalf of NBB’s members, I’d like to thank Reps. Finkenauer, Marshall, Craig and Bacon for being consistent champions of the biodiesel industry,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board. “The legislation they’ve authored will help expand critical infrastructure and increase consumer access to cleaner, better fuels in the future.”

“We commend Rep. Finkenauer for her leadership in the effort to accelerate consumer access to biofuels like biodiesel,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and director of market development at the Iowa Soybean Association. “The greatest remaining barriers to widespread biodiesel adoption are at the terminal and pipeline terminal level. We support incentivizing terminals and taking other steps to help increase the market penetration of this greenhouse gas-reducing fuel. This will also drive economic growthan urgent need in America. Biodiesel producers and the farmers who supply the raw materials for it appreciate Rep. Finkenauer’s steadfast support, and the actions she has taken to promote greater biodiesel adoption. In these challenging times, both industries need all the support they can get.”

"Iowa soybean farmers thank Rep. Abby Finkenauer for working to break down market barriers and expand the availability of clean, homegrown renewable fuels,” said Tim Bardole, president of the Iowa Soybean Association. “This legislation and investment is critical for fueling infrastructure. It will help drive soybean demand and significantly increase the access, sale and use of higher biodiesel blends.”


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