Podesta to meet with Senate Dems on biodiesel mandate

Top White House adviser John Podesta will meet with Senate Democrats Thursday to discuss the administration’s plans regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and eight other Democrats who support increasing the mandate will meet attend the meeting, which they requested last month, Franken spokeswoman Maggie Rousseau said.

A White House spokesman confirmed Podesta will attend the meeting.

The senators said they wanted to discuss “urgent concerns” with the RFS, which requires that diesel and gasoline refiners mix a certain amount of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol into their traditional fuels each year. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed last year to keep the biodiesel volume in 2014 at least year’s level, despite an increase in biodiesel production, and reduce the ethanol volume.

The EPA has not yet finalized its 2014 volumes for renewables.

Franken and his colleagues took particular issue with the biodiesel mandate.

“Such a decision would not only harm the economic growth surrounding biodiesel production in our states, but would be a setback in our national efforts to continue boosting U.S. energy security while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” they wrote.

Many of the senators participating in Thursday’s meeting participated in a news conference in May with the National Biodiesel Board to push for a higher mandate, saying that most biodiesel producers have cut back their activities in light of the proposal.