Biofuel companies find help on K Street

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Biofuel companies have brought on top-notch lobby firms as the battle over the renewable fuels standard continues in Washington, D.C.

A rule by U.S. EPA to lower the biofuel requirement for refiners is expected to be finalized soon. Announced last November, that move by the agency was a blow to the biofuel industry, which argues it will lead to plant closures and layoffs.Many have turned to K Street to make their case in Washington.

Trestle Energy, a biodiesel energy company based in La Jolla, Calif., signed up Van Heuvelen Strategies LLC to lobby on “issues related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) and Trestle’s pending petitions for new fuel pathways under the RFS,” according to disclosure records released by the Senate before the Memorial Day holiday.

Bob Van Heuvelen, a former chief of staff to ex-Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and EPA official, along with Valerie West, once natural resources director for former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), are representing Trestle.

Trestle was working with Gephardt Group Government Affairs before parting ways with the firm March 1.

Others have brought help from the influence industry.

Sundrop Fuels Inc., a biofuels company from Longmont, Colo., has hired Holland & Knight LLP to lobby on “commercialization of advanced biofuels production,” according to records filed with the Senate last week.

Beth Viola, a former senior adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Clinton, and Andrew Emeron, once a legislative aide to former Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.), are representing the company.

Biofuels companies have upped their lobbying game as EPA moves closer to finalizing its rule. Last week, about 120 companies in the industry expressed “alarm” in a letter to President Obama about the agency rule (E&E Daily, May 29).