President Trump held another White House meeting regarding the Renewable Fuels Standard with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) representing the oil industry, and Iowa Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst representing the biofuels industry. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue were also in attendance.
With summertime restrictions for E15 set to take effect on June 1, Senator Grassley said via his Twitter account about the meeting, “No RIN cap & got E15 yr round. Need to see Perdue+Pruitt plan.” Senator Cruz, on his Twitter account said, “Terrific final decision from @POTUS meeting: E15, year-round plus RINs for all exports. This is a WIN-WIN for everyone. More corn will be sold (good for farmers), plus lower RINs (saves blue-collar refinery jobs), plus more ethanol exports (good for America).”
Now the job lies with Secretary Perdue and Administrator Pruitt to work out the details. Regulatory issues had been the holdup with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt telling reporters that they have been involved in the legal analysis of allowing E15 sales year-round for months.
“It is a legal analysis. It’s not a policy decision. We’re trying to make an informed decision about what the statute permits, and make a very solid informed decision there.”
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen says Pruitt does have the legal authority, and he hasn’t been willing to use it.
“I’ve read the statute. This is not hard. The administrator has the legal authority. In January, four ethanol advocacy groups met with EPA. We went over not one, not two, but five different approaches that EPA could rely upon, founded in the statute, that would allow the year-round use of E15. They have the legal authority.”
Today’s White House meeting may have set the Administrator clear on the President’s path. Kyle Gilley, Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Communications for POET, a leading biofuels producer, says, “We are pleased President Trump has vowed to cut the unnecessary red tape holding back the rural economy and stop Mr. Pruitt’s rampant abuse of hardship waivers for refiners at the expense of American-made biofuels. It’s clear the President recognizes the many benefits of year-round sales of E15 for consumers and for farmers who are suffering and facing new threats from trade wars overseas.”
More work needs to be done, and it needs to be done by Administrator Pruitt, which leaves many in the industry skeptical. More to come on this story as it continues to develop.