Energy & Environment

GOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate

A group of Republican senators has asked to meet with President Trump to discuss the federal biofuels mandate.

Nine senators sent Trump a letter on Wednesday warning him that if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “does not make adjustments or reforms on matters related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), it will result in a loss of jobs around the country, particularly in our states.”

The letter, obtained by The Hill on Thursday, is from GOP senators from oil- and refining-heavy states: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), James Inhofe (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Mike Lee (Utah), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), John Barrasso (Wyo.) and James Lankford (Okla.).

The letter comes after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would back off from plans to change the biofuels mandate amid pressure from Midwestern senators.

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Pruitt told senators last week that he would not pursue ways to water down the RFS, including lowering the mandate on biodiesel or allowing ethanol exports to count toward the mandate.

Both measures would have effectively reduced the amount of ethanol produced, something Republican and Democratic senators from agriculture states deeply oppose.

But oil and refining industry supporters have long called for reforms to the RFS, which mandates how much ethanol and biodiesel is blended into the fuel supply.

In their letter, the senators said they should be allowed to make their case to Trump, who was especially supportive of ethanol policy during his presidential campaign and reportedly asked Pruitt to back off potential reforms to the RFS.

“We request that within the next three weeks, you convene a meeting regarding the RFS and pro-jobs policies with us, our Senate colleagues who previously lobbied you on behalf of the ethanol industry, and relevant members of your administration to discuss a pathway forward toward a mutually agreeable solution that will also save refining jobs and help unleash an American energy renaissance,” they wrote.

Tags Energy Ethanol James Inhofe James Lankford Jeff Flake John Barrasso John Cornyn Mike Enzi Mike Lee Pat Toomey Renewable Fuel Standard Scott Pruitt Ted Cruz

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