Trump Plans to Meet Oil Industry Reps on U.S. Biofuel Policy: Sources
by Jarrett Renshaw, Richard Valdmanis (Reuters) U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with representatives of the oil refining industry and their legislative backers to discuss the nation’s biofuels program, according to two sources briefed on the matter.
The White House meeting could set the stage for negotiations over possible legislation to overhaul the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard ….
While the regulation would be a boon to the Midwest corn belt, refining companies oppose it because it cuts into their petroleum-based fuel market share, and because they say the blending requirement costs them hundreds of millions of dollars.
… the meeting is likely to be set for the week of Dec. 11.
(Texas Senator Ted) Cruz and eight other senators from states with oil refineries – including Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania – had requested the meeting with Trump in a letter in October to discuss the regulation.
In the letter, the senators asked that the meeting include Midwest lawmakers, biofuels representatives and relevant administration officials, so all sides could “discuss a pathway forward toward a mutually agreeable solution.”
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a vocal biofuels backer, has said that such a meeting would be a “waste of time.”
The Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the program, slightly increased biofuels volumes targets for 2018 and has rejected proposals to shift the blending burden, or to allow ethanol exports to count towards volumes targets. READ MORE
Ethanol Blog: Cruz, oil Lawmakers to Meet with Trump on RFS, Other Developments (DTN The Progressive Farmer)
Why Pruitt’s Leaving (Politico’s Morning Energy)
Cruz wants Trump to end his support for ethanol industry (Washington Times)
Texas politicians press Trump to reduce ethanol mandate (Houston Chronicle)
Grassley not worried about Trump’s meeting with Cruz, ethanol opponents (Des Moines Register)
Excerpt from Des Moines Register: Grassley (Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)) said Tuesday he’s not concerned about Trump’s meeting with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, other oil-state senators and petroleum representatives so long as “the president keeps doing what he’s told the voters of Iowa, me and Sen. (Joni) Ernst so many times — that he supports ethanol.”
The Iowa senator dismissed the idea that Trump could strike a deal weakening his commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard in exchange for Cruz releasing his hold on Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s confirmation to a top U.S. Department of Agriculture post.
“Mr. Northey wouldn’t want to be confirmed if the president was going to compromise his views on ethanol — if that was the trade-off,” Grassley said.
A Northey spokesman Tuesday said the Spirit Lake farmer has no interest in anything that would weaken the renewable fuel mandate. “He’s a strong supporter of the RFS,” said Dustin Vande Hoef.
Grassley said he hadn’t been invited to the Trump-Cruz meeting, which Reuters and others say “could set the stage for negotiations over possible legislation to overhaul the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
“I doubt they’d want me around,” Grassley said.
Grassley said Congress would need to take legislative action to make changes to the biofuels mandate. READ MORE
Excerpts from DTN The Progressive Farmer: Grassley said the oil industry’s opposition to the RFS may be nothing new, but the industry has forgotten its role in creating the law.
“I hope big oil remembers that they were part of the formulating of the RFS,” he said. “We worked very closely with oil because they wanted to do away with oxygenate standards. They seem to be backtracking and I’m not sure why. We’ve kind of been fighting big oil since the ’70s and ’80s when ethanol was taking off. Big oil doesn’t want to market anything they don’t control.” READ MORE
Excerpt from Politico’s Morning Energy: Sen. Ted Cruz has secured a meeting today (December 7, 2017) at 11:30 a.m. with President Donald Trump and several Cabinet members, including Pruitt, for what he told ME is likely to be a “free-ranging discussion” about biofuels and the recent fights over the Renewable Fuel Standard. His message? “We need to find a solution that is a win-win. That is a win for corn farmers across the Midwest but at the same time is a win for blue-collar union members who work in refineries and right now are being bankrupted by a regulatory system that isn’t working,” the Texas Republican said. Other Senate Republicans are expected to attend as well (perhaps the ones who signed this letter). Remember Cruz still has a hold on Bill Northey’s USDA’s farm and conservation mission nomination, so watch to see if that’s lifted as the most immediate outcome of the session.
Oilies only: Sen. Chuck Grassley wasn’t invited to the meeting, his spokesman said, but not to worry: Grassley has said that a White House RFS meeting would be “a waste of time.” And if there’s one thing energy world knows now, it’s that if you don’t have Gang Grain, you got nothing. READ MORE