June 07, 2022

Cortez Masto Saves Nevada Jobs Held Up By Federal Red Tape

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that Storey County’s new Sierra BioFuels Plant will soon begin production, protecting 120 permanent jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs across Nevada. As a result of Senator Cortez Masto’s advocacy to speed up a stalled rulemaking process, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule to allow for innovative, clean bio-fuel options to be generated and sold on the market. With this fix finalized, Fulcrum BioEnergy’s Sierra BioFuels Plant will become the world’s first commercial-scale plant to convert household garbage into low-cost, net-zero carbon transportation fuel.

“Fulcrum’s Sierra BioFuels Plant will help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide a domestic source of renewable transportation fuel, and support hundreds of jobs across the state. I worked hard to ensure they could keep their doors open,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I wouldn’t let unnecessary government bureaucracy stand in the way of this innovative new facility. I’ll keep fighting for all of Nevada’s businesses and the jobs they create.”  

“This action is critical to the success of commercializing our Sierra BioFuels Plant and an entirely new industry. We applaud the determination and skill of Senator Cortez Masto in working to complete the rulemaking, which will support the economy in Northern Nevada and help to cement Nevada’s reputation as a national and global leader in clean energy,” stated Eric Pryor, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fulcrum BioEnergy.

As part of her Innovation State Initiative, Cortez Masto has led efforts in the Senate to promote clean and renewable energy projects, including the Fulcrum BioEnergy project in Storey County. Fulcrum’s Sierra BioFuels facility is designed to produce renewable transportation fuel from municipal solid waste, or household garbage, collected in Northern Nevada. The waste will be refined at the Sierra BioFuels Plant to create a low-carbon product – called a biointermediate – which will then be transported to other refineries across the country and converted into clean transportation fuels, such as sustainable aviation fuel or renewable diesel and gasoline.

For more than five years, approval of the biointermediate fix was stalled awaiting the EPA’s efforts to draft and implement a new rule. The lack of regulatory clarity and certainty that the rule would be completed threatened the business certitude for parties interested in utilizing biointermediates, including Fulcrum and the new Sierra BioFuels Plant.

Following years of negotiations with the Trump administration, Senator Cortez Masto worked to ensure this rule could be prioritized by President Biden and his administration. In December 2020, she urged then-President-elect Biden to finalize this policy fix, and she personally called on EPA Administrator Regan to approve the rule.

Thanks to Cortez Masto’s advocacy, the EPA has finalized the new rule, bringing certainty to the Sierra BioFuels Plant and supporting 120 permanent and more than 1,000 indirect jobs across Nevada. Last month, the Sierra BioFuels Plant began preliminary operations and now, with the release of the EPA’s final rulemaking, the innovative biofuel plant will finally be able to sell its fuel on the market with increased commercial clarity. The plant will be able to convert 175,000 tons of household garbage into 11 million gallons of renewable transportation fuels each year.