Biofuel plant managers ask Trump to protect RFS from Cruz

By Erin Voegele | March 07, 2018

On March 7, managers at more than 150 U.S. biofuel plants sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging the White House to defend the Renewable Fuel Standard from efforts by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to alter the program.

“We’ve seen Texas Senator 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. These gimmicks would eliminate market access for higher ethanol blends, and they are deal-killers for rural America.”

In the letter, the managers say Cruz has attempted to hijack the conversion about one mismanaged refinery in order to justify regulatory handouts for an entire sector. The letter stresses that refineries of all sizes are currently reporting surging profits under the RFS, in part due to recent tax reforms.

“A true win-win proposal would lift summertime restrictions on the sales of 15 percent ethanol blends,” said the managers in the letter. “This minor change would support growth on all sides, generate a new supply of RINs, and ease pressure on refiners. But this proposal holds no value if it becomes tied to destructive RIN caps that eliminate market access for biofuels.”

Growth Energy released a statement related to the letter, noting it is joining the plant managers in asking Trump to provide Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to allow E15 year-round while rejecting Cruz’s proposals that pick winners and losers.

“The campaign against RINs is based on fairytales, designed to justify handouts for the same folks who raided corporate funds at the expense of local workers in Philadelphia,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Those workers deserve real answers—not scapegoats and excuses from Ted Cruz and his donors.”

“PBF, HollyFrontier, and Valero are all posting surging profits,” Skor continued. “Delta’s revenue from the Monroe refinery is up too. Instead of pitting their own workers against rural jobs, refinery owners should be talking about pro-growth options, like lifting needless limits on summertime sales of E15. President Trump vowed to protect the RFS, and that’s the kind of policy that will support both refinery margins and America’s hardworking farmers.”

The Renewable Fuels Association has also spoken out in support plant managers and their letter. “The president has reiterated numerous times his support for the RFS, workers in our manufacturing sector, and America’s farmers. Just last evening, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue again affirmed the administration’s support for a robust RFS,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The U.S. ethanol industry is asking the President to continue honoring his commitment to Rural America by rejecting efforts by Sen. Cruz to destruct renewable fuel demand and harm consumers across this country.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from the RFA website