USDA's Vilsack: Renewable Fuel Standard ruling another step toward energy independence

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack welcomed the finalization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements today, saying it's one more step toward energy independence for the country. 

"The rule released today is a positive step forward providing for continued growth in all parts of the Renewable Fuel Standard — advanced, biodiesel, cellulosic and conventional — building on the [President Barack] Obama Administration's and USDA's commitment to biofuels and American-grown renewable energy,"  Vilsack said. "While the Renewable Fuel Standard is one piece of the equation of this commitment, it is not the only piece. Significant strategic investments by this administration across the board in feedstock production, research, refining capacity, distribution and new market development have resulted in a sophisticated and growing American biofuels industry."

The USDA secretary pointed out that the country's renewable energy industry has expanded and evolved vastly since 2009 when the Obama administration embraced an "all-of-the-above energy strategy."

"Since then, we have more than doubled renewable energy production, and today we import less than half our oil," Vilsack said. "We are saving Americans money at the pump with improved and expanded ethanol and biodiesel production."

The rise in the nation's renewable energy industry has paid off in other areas as well. 

"Our national security has been bolstered because we are more energy secure and also because our nation's military is a major commercial customer for U.S. biofuels," Vilsack said. "We're also combating climate change with investments in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide for cleaner air. And we're building our economy by exporting U.S. biofuels to other nations, stabilizing farm prices with expanded production, and creating good jobs in small towns and rural communities."

Vilsack said his agency is committed to expanding the use of biofuels. 

"This unprecedented commitment is part of the reason why, even in recent years when there has been some uncertainty with RFS, we have seen continued growth in biofuels production and consumption," Vilsack said. "USDA and this administration remain committed to using the full set of tools at our disposal to expand the use of biofuels, which support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bring choice and savings to consumers when they fill up at the pump, support American producers, expand new markets for rural-grown and made products, and drive economic investment in rural America."

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