Vilsack says he’s committed to renewable fuels

Renewable fuels were a hot topic during the Senate Ag Committee’s confirmation hearing for Ag Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst expressed concern about the future of the RFS considering the Biden administration’s recent Executive Order to transition the federal vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.  “You will be sitting in the Oval Office with President Biden in 2022,” she says.  “Just imagine yourself there, and you are discussing the opportunity for the RFS, but you also have an electric vehicle advocate sitting across the table.”

Vilsack says it isn’t an either-or situation.  “I’d probably say to President Biden that I have a 2006 Ford Focus that I still own,” he says.  “I would remind him that there are so many Americans, like me and my wife, who have cars that are six, seven, eight, ten, twelve years old.  And the reality is – we’re going to need both.”

Earlier in his testimony, Vilsack said that the Biden administration would also consider utilizing USDA resources to work with Congress to build out the renewable fuels infrastructure to make it easier to access higher blends of ethanol.

Following the hearing, Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol said he was appreciative that several Senators raised important biofuel questions so Secretary Vilsack could reaffirm his support of the ethanol industry.  Jennings says they look forward to USDA working with the EPA to help get the Renewable Fuels Standard back on track to recognize the role ethanol is already playing to address climate change. 

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