Biofuel groups send letter to Trump defending ethanol credits

Biofuel groups send letter to Trump defending ethanol credits
© Getty Images

The leaders of 150 American biofuel companies sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' 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 CruzState Department's top arms control official leaving Sanders NASA plan is definitely Earth first Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight 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 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 ErnstTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition 'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year MORE (R) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Trump: 'Great to see' Pelosi plan to lower drug prices Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices 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 PruittEPA moving ahead with science transparency rule by 'early next year' Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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."