Biodiesel’s role in RFS not at issue in White House discussions

By Ron Kotrba | March 02, 2018

On March 1, for the second time in a week, a meeting was held by President Trump at the White House to discuss possible reforms to the Renewable Fuel Standard with stakeholders, legislators and administrators. The discussions centered mostly on ethanol and RINs.

Randy Howard, the president and CEO of Renewable Energy Group Inc., the largest biodiesel producer in North America, was among stakeholders at the meeting where he said it was made clear there is no problem with biodiesel.  

“It was made abundantly clear by all parties in the room that none of them have an issue with biodiesel’s role in the RFS,” Howard said. “I look forward to continuing the dialogue with the administration to help us all achieve future biodiesel growth.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said, “Both sides made their case and the only agreement was to look at economic studies for impact. No decisions were made. Low corn prices are already squeezing farmers’ bottom lines. If the RFS were undermined with a RIN price cap or waiver, that would be made even worse. Thousands of jobs in rural America could be lost. An emerging solution appears to be year-round E15, which would drive down RIN prices. After crossing the 15 billion gallon a year threshold, RIN prices would drop dramatically and remain low. And studies prove it.”

Howard added, “I believe [President Trump] appreciates how biodiesel and other biofuels benefit American job growth and agriculture, especially in the current downturn in the farm economy. The president understood that RIN prices go down with continued growth of biofuel volumes.”

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, issued a joint statement after the meeting. “We are encouraged that President Trump recognizes the importance of providing relief from crushing RINs costs and expanding the potential market for ethanol that will benefit both Iowa farmers by letting them sell more corn, and blue-collar refinery workers by saving their jobs in states including Pennsylvania and Texas, and are grateful for the commitment he's displayed to continue talks that will result in a win-win solution for both parties,” the senators stated. “We had a productive meeting today with senators on both sides, along with representatives from the unions, ethanol and refining industries, and motor fuel retailers. We are making real progress, and, with the president’s leadership, we believe we can and will ultimately solve the problem.”

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