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 TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report 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 CruzCNN town halls put network at center of Dem primary The Memo: Trump can't let go of McCain grudge Michael Bennet is close to deciding on possible presidential bid 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 ErnstCrenshaw to Trump: 'Stop talking about McCain' Stop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (R) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTreasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' Drug prices are a matter of life and death 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 PruittOvernight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election EPA pushes forward plan to increase ethanol mix in gasoline Trump: The solitary executive 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."