Farm Progress

Senators look to establish sustainable aviation fuel standards

Ethanol advocates endorse Sustainable Aviation Fuels Accuracy Act.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

June 20, 2023

2 Min Read
Plane getting fuel
Getty Images

A proposed Senate bill would establish standards for the Federal Aviation Administration’s definition of Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Joni Ernst- R-Iowa, and Amy Klobuchar, D- Minn. introduced the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Accuracy Act June 13.

“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,” Duckworth says. “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.”

The bill would require the federal government to use the most up-to-date life cycle emissions models, including the Department of Energy’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation model when determining what can be considered a sustainable aviation fuel. Commonly referred to as the GREET model, the data tool takes into account the full lifecycle of a fuel from production to application.

Bill supporters say this will more accurately consider crops, land uses and carbon reduction practices when calculating a fuel’s sustainability. They also believe it will help American farmers capitalize on the long-term transition to a greener, more sustainable economy.

“Emissions modeling needs to reflect the latest science and technology,” Sen. Fischer says. “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”

Shortly after the bill was introduced, the Renewable Fuels Association released a statement expressing its support for the bill. RFA officials say the GREET model is “scientifically superior” to other lifecycle greenhouse gas methodologies, including the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standard.

Other organizations endorsing the bill include the Clean Fuels Alliance America, United Airlines, Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association, and the American Coalition for Ethanol.

"ACE supports ensuring the global gold standard for lifecycle analysis, the GREET model, is used to determine the carbon intensity of transportation technologies and fuels including SAF,” American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says. “This bill is consistent with what Congress requires Treasury to follow with respect to implementing the new 45Z tax credit, and since the SAF tax credit eventually migrates to 45Z, this makes good policy sense."

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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