POET idles three plants; senators call on USDA to help the biofuels industry


POET idles three plants; senators call on USDA to help the biofuels industry

More ethanol plants are shutting down as a result of the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nation’s largest ethanol producer, POET, says it is idling plants in Ashton and Coon Rapids, Iowa, and in Chancellor, South Dakota. The company is also delaying the start of its new plant in Shelbyville, Indiana. 

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has sent a letter to the USDA requesting additional funds be allocated to the biofuels industry through the Commodity Credit Corporation. 

One of those senators, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, says the biofuels industry needs help just as much as Big Oil.

“The Department of Energy has announced that it is buying oil for the strategic petroleum reserve—and there ought to be parity for all liquid fuels,” Grassley says. “So I look forward to working with Secretary Perdue to make sure that our biofuels industry gets through this crisis.”

The senators say they are supportive of proposals the biofuels industry has put forward to reimburse feedstocks and to add additional CCC funds to the Higher-Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.

In addition to Grassley, the letter is co-signed by Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Jerry Moran of Kansas and John Thune of South Dakota.

AUDIO: Excerpt from Grassley’s conference call with ag reporters

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