Ethanol Blog

Senators Request RFS Meeting with Trump

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has been doing plenty to get the attention of President Donald Trump, first on Thursday the senator took to Twitter to call out Trump for even considering a proposal to cap the price of renewable identification numbers, or RINs, in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Also, Grassley and four of his U.S. Senate colleagues sent what must be the 10,000th letter to the president from groups both for and against RFS reform.

Grassley didn't pull punches in the tweet directly to Trump, "@realDonaldTrump I want to shake up what u might be planning abt a RINS cap for a short period. It will be CATASTROPHIC to ethanol. U will only believe me when u find ethanol in doldrums. That's where ur idea leads"

One of the proposals coming from a recent meeting at the White House is to cap RINs prices for two years, as part of some deal between ethanol and oil interests that could include allowing year-round E15 sales.

In the letter sent to the president, Grassley along with Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, requested a meeting with Trump about the issue. They said they oppose any cap as a means to drive down RINs prices.

"A waiver cap is designed to abruptly drive down the price of renewable identification numbers by reducing the amount of biofuels produced," the letter said. "The proposed waiver credit would replace gallons of manufactured biofuels with paper credits. Enacting such a policy makes it impossible for you to honor your commitment of a 15-billion-gallon RFS."

Numerous studies on the RINs system have been completed in recent months as the debate has continued.

In the letter the senators point to a recent analysis by Valero Energy that stated a 10-cent cap on RINs would limit the RFS to 10% ethanol blends.

"Implementing such a waiver would result in a significant reduction of higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85, as well as biodiesel," the letter said. "In many areas, those fuels would be eliminated from the marketplace. Let there be no doubt - the consequences of a waiver would be severe and immediate across the Midwest, impacting farmers and biofuel stakeholders alike."

The lawmakers said they continue to believe allowing year-round E15 sales alone would generate more RINs and drive down their prices, while "honoring your commitment" to 15 billion gallons of biofuels.

"We feel it is very important to let you know our strong opposition to placing a waiver cap on RINs that is intentionally designed to undermine our shared commitment of 15 billion gallons of annual biofuels production," the senators said.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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