Biden vows to support biofuels, slams Trump actions

Source: By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is pledging his support for biofuels and criticizing President Trump’s enforcement of the federal biofuel blending law.

While his statement released yesterday did not make firm commitments like mandating certain volumes under the renewable fuel standard or rejecting oil refiners’ waiver requests, it was nonetheless his strongest statement backing an industry that’s central to the economy in Iowa, which could be a swing state in the election.

“A Biden-Harris Administration will promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and other biofuels to help rural America and our nation’s farmers, and will honor the critical role the renewable fuel industry plays in supporting the rural economy and the leadership role American agriculture will play in our fight against climate change,” Biden said in the statement, referring to his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

“Instead of standing with those who till our land and sow our fields, we have a president who has sold out our farmers by undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard with the granting of waivers to Big Oil,” he said.

“Now, President Trump refuses to announce the 2021 renewable fuel production levels until after the election, leaving farmers concerned of further cuts to production,” Biden said.

The statement comes at a rocky time for the RFS, and some in the industry are frustrated with the Trump administration’s handling of the law.

EPA is considering dozens of requests from small refineries to retroactively waive blending requirements, and the agency appears on track to miss the Nov. 30 deadline for annual volume requirements.

Biden criticized that likely delay too, saying it leaves “farmers concerned of further cuts to production.”

Under President Obama, when Biden was vice president, EPA repeatedly missed its RFS deadlines.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard marks our bond with our farmers and our commitment to a thriving rural economy,” Biden said.

“Donald Trump doesn’t respect that connection, and he’s thrown it away to the detriment of generations of producers across the Midwest and around the country — many of whom put their trust in him four years ago,” he said.

Asked by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) about EPA waivers to refineries, the president said he would take those concerns to EPA (E&E News PM, Aug. 18).