Biofuel producers ask Trump to defend RFS as oil workers storm DC

By Ron Kotrba | March 07, 2018

As 30 workers from more than a dozen independent oil refineries in 11 states converged on Capitol Hill this week to discuss reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard with lawmakers, managers from 150 biofuel plants across the U.S. sent a letter to President Trump urging him to stand strong in defense of the RFS.  

“We’ve seen Texas Sen. 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,” the letter states. “Nothing could be further from the truth. RINs are simply a flexible and efficient system—designed with help from refiners—for tracking our product, as each gallon of biofuel makes its way to consumers. There is no way to cut, cap, or eliminate RINs without cutting, capping, or eliminating gallons of homegrown fuel.”

The United Steelworkers union organized the trip to Washington, D.C., for the 30 refinery workers. Kim Nibarger, USW national oil bargaining chairman, was in Washington for the meetings and said refiners currently are forced to purchase RINs at artificially inflated prices because they lack the size and infrastructure to blend ethanol into their gasoline.

“Although the multibillion-dollar ethanol industry and its powerful lobbyists are determined to prove otherwise, our laws are not intended to guarantee profits for RIN traders,” Nibarger said. “A growing number of elected leaders from both parties have already joined us in calling for RFS reform that benefits consumers and protects oil community jobs without significantly impacting the ethanol industry. We welcome the support of others who will stand with us to demand a fair compromise.”

The letter signed by the biofuel plant managers says Cruz has attempted to hijack a conversation about one mismanaged refinery—Philadelphia Energy Solutions—to justify regulatory handouts for an entire sector.

“But there is no truth behind the notion that this White House must choose between rural jobs and strong refining revenues,” the letter states. “Refiners of all sizes are posting surging profits under the RFS…”

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said, “Waiver credits waive the RFS. Period. So the president must decide whether to stand by his repeated promises to uphold the 15 billion gallon RFS for ethanol, or whether to abdicate that promise and adopt the Ted Cruz RFS waiver credit scheme.”   

The full text of the letter and a list of signers is available here.


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