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RFS Meeting Rumored           02/23 13:04

   Biofuel Groups Say They Haven't Been Invited to RFS Meeting Reportedly 
Called by Trump

   A number of federal lawmakers have been granted a meeting at the White House 
next week to push for changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, according to a 
Reuters report.

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

   OMAHA (DTN) -- President Donald Trump has invited federal lawmakers at the 
center of the Renewable Fuel Standard debate to a meeting at the White House 
next Tuesday to discuss potential reform, Reuters reported on Thursday. So far, 
though, DTN has not been able to confirm such a meeting is scheduled, and 
representatives of biofuel groups contacted by DTN said they have not received 
an invitation to participate.

   Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held a rally with employees at 
the now-bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. He called for reform 
to the RFS, after PES alleged in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that $832 
million in costs to comply with the RFS was the reason for its demise.

   During that rally, Cruz said biofuels groups had "refused" to meet with him 
and other members of Congress to talk about potential changes to the RFS.

   Reuters reported the meeting was confirmed by "four sources familiar with 
the matter." That report said Cruz; Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Joni 
Ernst, R-Iowa; President Trump; U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt; and others 
were slated to meet to discuss ways to change the law.

   Michael Zona, communications director for Grassley, told DTN, "As of now, we 
don't have any comment." Ernst's office had not responded to DTN's request for 
comment at the time this article was posted.

   When contacted by DTN, representatives from the White House and USDA would 
not confirm such a meeting. "It's a little bit premature at this point," the 
White House said in a statement.

   Two biofuels groups contacted by DTN said they have not been invited to such 
a meeting.

   "We are not invited," said Jenni Roberson, director of communications and 
public affairs at Growth Energy. "To our knowledge, there is no industry 
representation invited at this time."

   Katie Fletcher, communications director at the American Coalition for 
Ethanol, told DTN, "To our knowledge, no industry organization, ethanol or oil, 
has been invited to the meeting."

   If such a meeting takes place, it would be the second gathering at the White 
House for Cruz, Grassley and others focused on the RFS.

   In addition, the Washington Examiner reported this week that Sen. John 
Cornyn, R-Texas, is circulating a bill to reform the RFS.

   In December 2017, Cruz and other Republicans were granted a White House 
meeting on the RFS with the president and members of his cabinet. That meeting 
reportedly included Pruitt. The president reportedly told all sides to work out 
their differences on the RFS.

   Prior to EPA's release of the final 2018 RFS volumes that same month, Pruitt 
had a number of meetings with lawmakers from the Midwest regarding their 
concerns about potential changes to the law. The meeting resulted in Pruitt 
announcing in a letter to lawmakers that the RFS volumes would not be cut and 
other changes would not be made to the law.

   Before the December meeting at the White House, Cruz said he was putting a 
hold on the nomination of Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey as USDA 
undersecretary of agriculture for farm and foreign agricultural services until 
the president granted the meeting. But despite having the meeting, Cruz 
continues his grip on Northey's nomination.

   Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

   Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

    


(AG/CZ)

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