The Senate Republican virus relief package unveiled this week does not specifically dedicate help to biofuel producers, sought by the industry and ethanol state lawmakers for months during the pandemic. Biofuel groups say the proposal makes producers eligible for some of the $20 billion in agriculture help in the package, but lacks clear language needed to dedicate funds for biorefineries. Longtime ethanol backer and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley has pushed for such language.

The Renewable Fuels Association recently pegged ethanol’s pandemic losses at $3.4 billion so far, equal to 500 million bushels of lost corn demand. Grassley complains that petroleum already received help through the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

In a recent op-ed, Renewable Fuels Association chief Geoff Cooper writes that the ethanol industry isn’t asking for a “bailout,” but the same helping hand already extended to other Ag sectors, and the oil and gas industry.