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
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
"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 email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN
Copyright 2018 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
Get your local Cash Bids emailed to you each morning from DTN – click here
to sign up for DTN Snapshot.