Biofuel groups send letter to Trump defending ethanol credits

Biofuel groups send letter to Trump defending ethanol credits
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The leaders of 150 American biofuel companies sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE on Wednesday urging him to support the current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the supplemental use of ethanol credits.

The letter from the groups warns Trump that changes to the RFS and the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) system would negatively impact ethanol and biofuel producers.

"Like hundreds of thousands of others across the country, our jobs and those of our coworkers depend on the RFS, which ensures that American-made biofuels cannot be locked out of the marketplace by monopolies at the fuel pump," the letter read.

The companies called out Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOn The Money: Conservative blocks disaster relief bill | Trade high on agenda as Trump heads to Japan | Boeing reportedly faces SEC probe over 737 Max | Study finds CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay Conservative blocks House passage of disaster relief bill The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan MORE (R-Texas), who has played a key role in the debate over whether to make changes to the current RFS and supported the position of oil and natural gas industries in a recent meeting with the president.

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"We’ve seen Texas Senator Ted Cruz attempt to confuse stakeholders about the RFS, claiming that his attack on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) is not an attack on our jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth," the letter said.

"There is no way to cut, cap, or eliminate RINs without cutting, capping, or eliminating gallons of homegrown fuel."

Cruz and Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) voiced support for the fossil fuel industry at a White House meeting with the president last week. Cruz specifically argued in favor of a cap on the RIN system, which he argued would keep prices on biofuel credits down.

Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSenate defense bill would make military sexual harassment standalone crime Congress, White House near deal on spending, debt limit Trump mulling visit to ethanol refinery later this month: report MORE (R) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump Citizenship and Immigration Services head out at agency Trump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access MORE (R), who represent the farm state of Iowa, spoke in support of the biofuel industry and against a cap.

Despite the highly publicized meeting between the four GOP senators, Trump, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOn The Money: Conservative blocks disaster relief bill | Trade high on agenda as Trump heads to Japan | Boeing reportedly faces SEC probe over 737 Max | Study finds CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay Overnight Energy: Democrats push EPA to collect 4K in 'excessive' Pruitt travel expenses | Greens angered over new rules for rocket fuel chemical | Inslee to join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas Democrats push EPA to collect 4K from Pruitt for 'excessive airfare expenses' MORE and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, no agreement was reached.

In their letter Wednesday, the biofuel groups echoed similar arguments as Grassley and Ernst, arguing it was false to blame the bankruptcy of one company — Philadelphia Energy Solutions — on the success of the RIN system.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions owns the largest East Coast refinery and announced bankruptcy in January.

"To justify regulatory handouts for an entire sector, Senator Cruz has attempted to hijack a conversation about one mismanaged refinery. But there is no truth behind the notion that this White House must choose between rural jobs and strong refining revenues," the groups stated in their letter.

Instead, the biofuel companies floated another "win-win" approach for Trump to consider: lifting a rule that prevents the sale of a certain ethanol blend in summer months. The current sale is restricted due to its negative effects on air quality during warmer months.

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"A true win-win proposal would lift summertime restrictions on the sales of 15 percent ethanol blends. This minor change would support growth on all sides, generate a new supply of RINs, and ease pressure on refiners," the letter states.

But they argue that their request would not work hand-in-hand with Cruz's position.

"This proposal holds no value if it becomes tied to destructive RIN caps that eliminate market access for biofuels."