USCIS urged to approve foreign investment in Aemetis project

A federal lawmaker from California is slamming the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for its mishandling of an application submitted by Aemetis Inc. regarding foreign investment for its proposed Riverbank cellulosic ethanol project.

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif., issued a statement Aug. 29 criticizing the USCIS for its incompetence in handling Aemetis’s application for its Riverside project, which is expected to bring 2,000 jobs to its local community. According to Harder, Aemetis is planning to open the Riverbank biorefinery but is reliant on foreign investments to afford initial construction. USCIS is required to approve such applications, but the agency appears to have lost paperwork and ultimately denied approval of the application without explanation. Harder has met with White House staff regarding the request and sought several updates from the agency, according to his office.

Aemetis requested a formal National Interest Expedite for its project in December 2018. In January, the company received a rejection notice which indicated the project would undergo a standard extended review. In April, Aemetis received a request for the original application, implying the paperwork had been lost by USCIS and no review had been conducted over the past five months. Aemetis filed another NIE request, but was denied a second time in June without explanation. In addition to apparently losing paperwork, Harder’s office said USCIS has failed to notify Aemetis of updates in a timely manner.

– Erin Voegele, Biomass Magazine

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