June 13, 2023

Duckworth, Fischer, Ernst, Klobuchar, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Solidify Future of American-Grown Sustainable Aviation Fuels


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator and pilot Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)—member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation—and U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) along with U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are introducing the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Accuracy Act of 2023, comprehensive bipartisan legislation to identify the standards required to meet the definition of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“One of the most important things we can do to make American aviation more sustainable is increase the supply of American-grown, American-made, sustainable aviation fuel,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to partner with Senator Fischer, along with Senators Ernst, Klobuchar and Grassley, to introduce our bipartisan bill that will protect and ‘grow’ our sustainable aviation fuel sources stemming from America’s agricultural bounty, representing a true win-win solution that supports domestic farmers and blenders while reducing our carbon footprint.”

“Emissions modeling needs to reflect the latest science and technology. The GREET Model will more accurately capture the environmental benefits of biofuels, including for sustainable aviation fuels. I’m proud to join Senator Duckworth in leading this legislation to open up new markets for biofuel producers, promote U.S. energy security, and support our agricultural producers,” said Fischer.

This bill will require the Federal Government to use the most up-to-date lifecycle emissions models—including the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned, Argonne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Technologies Model or GREET model—that accurately considers crops, land uses and carbon reduction practices in the U.S and does not arbitrarily prevent our American farmers and crops from contributing to our green economy.

Most of the SAF comes from biofuels, or biomass derived fuels, using plants or waste. The United States is one of the top producers of SAF and is proud to utilize American grown crops and crop waste to produce American biofuels. This also creates a great opportunity for American farmers and agriculture sector to help us as we transition to a greener economy, helping create a reliable and consistent market for rural America and U.S. companies. SAF also allows us to decrease our reliance on foreign oil from countries like Russia and replace them with clean, American-made renewable fuels, bolstering our national security.

“As we work towards energy independence, it is important to allow our homegrown, clean biofuel to meet the needs of the U.S. aviation industry. Our measure ensures America’s domestic energy production is driven by the U.S. GREET model rather than rely on the current international model dictated by foreign countries like China and Russia. Not only is this model better for our national security, but it also provides an opportunity to support our hard-working American farmers,” said Ernst.

“Homegrown sustainable aviation fuel is not only an economic generator for communities across the country, but also an important tool to help us reduce our carbon footprint,” said Klobuchar. “This commonsense measure would make aviation more sustainable while also supporting farmers, producers, and job opportunities across rural America.”

“Expanding sustainable aviation fuel use in commercial aviation would create significant opportunities for Iowa biofuel development. However, legal discrepancies and the FAA’s use of outdated lifecycle emissions data are market barriers,” said Grassley. “Our bill fixes the problem by requiring the FAA reference the most accurate GREET model for emissions assessments, consistent with many other federal agencies. It would be a win for Iowa agriculture and the environment, encourage innovation and enhance U.S. energy security.”

A summary of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Accuracy Act can be found here and the full text of the bill can be found here.

The Sustainable Aviation Fuels Accuracy Act of 2023 is endorsed by the following organizations: Clean Fuels Alliance America, United Airlines, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and National Corn Growers Association.

In the Senate, Duckworth has been a longtime supporter of biofuels, including sustainable aviation fuel. The Senator created a pilot project in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to promote the use of SAF at military installations and will continue to increase these efforts to expand the use on biofuels whenever possible.

“We thank Sen. Duckworth and her colleagues for working together on this important legislation that will better facilitate growth in SAF production and use,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “By including the most robust and accurate lifecycle GHG model,  this legislation would ensure America’s farmers and renewable fuel producers have the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the goal of producing 3 billion gallons of SAF by 2030,” said Geoff Cooper, RFA President & CEO

“To meet the nation’s goals for carbon reductions in transportation and new markets like sustainable aviation, U.S. producers need assurance that sustainably grown U.S. crops will have access to incentives and other federal programs. Producers need the ability to rely on a U.S. model that is consistently updated with accurate, real-world data from the industry. The Department of Energy’s GREET model should be the gold standard. We thank Senator Duckworth for her continued leadership on sustainable aviation fuel policy,” said Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs, Clean Fuels Alliance America.

“The Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory have invested decades into building the world’s most accurate and sophisticated tool for modeling transportation emissions, and we should be making full use of that data to decarbonize aviation,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “We’re grateful to Senator Duckworth and her colleagues for elevating the importance of sound science when it comes to advancing U.S. production of SAF. The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Accuracy Act will ensure that American biofuel producers and our farm partners are not bogged down with outdated or inaccurate models as we work to meet the aviation sector’s clean fuel needs.”

“We appreciate the bipartisan leadership of Senators Duckworth, Ernst, Klobuchar and Fisher when it comes to ensuring the federal government takes an accurate and consistent approach to assessing sustainable aviation fuels from all feedstocks, including fuels using agriculture feedstocks,” said Tom Haag, National Corn Growers Association President. “Using the best science is essential to the success of these new fuels, and farmers can help make these new fuels possible.”