U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced legislation that would extend for two years The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency.” Extending the FDA’s guidance will grant additional certainty for ethanol operations that have made investments or changes in operations to serve the current and projected need for hand sanitizer, providing a longer timeline to recoup such costs. Importantly, this will support continued production of ethanol for hand sanitizer at a time of high demand and reported shortages to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 health pandemic has hit a wide spectrum of industries in our economy – including biofuels, as the demand for fuel has gone down,” said Thune. “While I recognize the amount of ethanol required for hand sanitizer will be a drop in the bucket for our ethanol producers, every bit helps, and American ethanol producers stand ready to help America get through these tough times.”
“ACE thanks Senator Thune for introducing legislation to provide greater certainty to ethanol producers about the investments they have made to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by supplying alcohol for sanitizer,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol. “Sanitizer production has helped keep some plants open and their workers employed during this downturn, all the while keeping their communities safer. Producers need some level of certainty that they won’t be inflicted with more regulatory whiplash after spending precious capital to retool their plants to provide sanitizer as Americans begin to slowly return to their normal activities.”
“Biotechnology has enabled the sustainable fuels industry to step up in the fight to protect the public against COVID-19 by repurposing their facilities to produce hand sanitizer,” said Stephanie Batchelor, vice president of BIO’s industrial and environmental section. “BIO thanks Senator Thune for introducing legislation to provide regulatory certainty to producers who have made the investment to help combat this disease.”
This legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).