This week, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) sent a letter to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, urging him to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership. Through this partnership, the USDA is investing up to $100 million to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers. The partnership will be administered through competitive grants, which can be matched by state or private dollars.
“Illinois’ participation in this partnership would expand markets for local farmers and help Illinois diversify our energy portfolio,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “I urge Governor Rauner to partner with the federal government to support rural economic growth and jobs, all while providing consumers more choices at the pump.”
Bustos has been a strong supporter of Illinois biofuels, toured ethanol facilities in the region and recognizes the important role the industry plays in rural economies. Last year, Bustos led a bipartisan group of 30 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the EPA expressing concern with the proposed RFS Rule and met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to personally share her concerns and the concerns of her constituents. Bustos also met with senior officials at the White House to discuss the importance of the RFS and protested the EPA proposal on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Bustos’ letter to Rauner is below and HERE.
Governor Bruce Rauner
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
June 24, 2015
Dear Governor Rauner:
I write to encourage the State of Illinois’ participation in the recently announced U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership. Through this partnership, the USDA is investing up to $100 million to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers. The partnership will be administered through competitive grants, which can be matched by state or private dollars.
According to a recent study completed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the majority of retail fueling equipment and storage infrastructure in the United States is compatible with E15. However, there remain areas of needed improvement in retail fueling infrastructure that grants through this partnership will address. As retailers must update pumps in the coming years to remain compatible with the latest payment technologies, I see this partnership as a tremendous opportunity to standardize retail fueling equipment for higher blends of ethanol.
Additionally, projects funded by these competitive grants will expand markets for farmers and help states diversify their rural energy portfolios. Ultimately, these projects will support rural economic growth and jobs, all while providing consumers more choices at the pump.
Illinois’ 14 ethanol plants have an annual production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons, representing nearly 10% of aggregate U.S. capacity. The ethanol industry in Illinois supports more than 70,000 jobs, paying out $4.7 billion in wages and creating $17.5 billion in annual economic output. With the potential to create even more good-paying jobs across our state, and with the promise of more affordable fueling options for consumers in Illinois, I would strongly support the State of Illinois participating in this grant competition process.
I have attached a copy of the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) which contains greater detail regarding the application process and requirements. All applications for USDA-FSA-2015-22 must be submitted using www.grants.gov by July 15, 2015.
I appreciate your time and attention to this important matter and look forward to working with you as this initiative moves forward.
Member of Congress