Transportation reform is a very hot topic in the Senate these days. On the safety side, the Commerce Committee is passing amendments affecting rental cars and NHTSA for a bill soon to come before the whole body. Another major block of Senators is now taking on the Renewable Fuel Standard and hoping to increase the allocation of biodiesel in the latest update to the program.

A bipartisan group of 36 Senators from 24 states want to see a major increase in the volume of biodiesel in the updated RFS, and they're petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to get things done. The names on the list include many well-known politicians, including Democratic presidential hopeful Bernard Sanders. "We remain concerned that the proposed biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 fail to adequately recognize the domestic biodiesel industry's production capacity and its ability to increase production," an opening portion of the letter says (here in full as a PDF).

The Senators argue that biodiesel production employs thousands of people nationwide. However by allowing imports to be included in the RFS, the EPA is putting those jobs at risk. The volumes should be increased in order to safeguard the workers that are producing a biofuel at a commercial scale, the politicians feel.

Under the EPA's currently proposed revision to the RFS, the amount of biodiesel would be pushed to 1.9 billion gallons in 2017, according to Biodiesel Magazine. However, the agency doesn't make the figures official until November. In the meantime, the Senators want things to go even further with 2 billion gallons in 2016 and 2.3 billion in 2017. The National Biodiesel Board, a trade association for the fuel, wanted even higher amounts set under the updated RFS with a desire for for 2.7 billion gallons by 2017.

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