Clinton: Support and improve ethanol mandate 

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015

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“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) can continue to be a powerful tool to spur the development of advanced biofuels and expand the overall contribution that renewable fuels make to our national fuel supply,” Clinton wrote in The Gazette, an eastern Iowa newspaper.

“We have to get the RFS back on track in a way that provides investors with the certainty they need, protects consumers, improves access to E15, E85, and biodiesel blends, and effectively drives the development of cellulosic and other advanced biofuels.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates refiners blend a certain volume of ethanol and biodiesel into their fuel supply, is popular in Iowa, the nation’s ethanol production leader.

But the mandate has its share of detractors and implementation problems. Some lawmakers have called for repealing or scaling back the mandate, and the Environmental Protection Agency has been slow to release new yearly ethanol and biodiesel blending targets for refiners. Proposed goals for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are due out by Monday.

“Smart investments in rural America aren’t rocket science — it’s just good sense that delivers for all Americans,” Clinton wrote in her op-ed. “Providing investment certainty, removing barriers, and investing in the infrastructure to deliver reliable and affordable energy to rural households and deliver rural clean energy to the rest of the country is a good start.”

Clinton also took aim at some of her Republican presidential rivals.

“There are still some here in America — even candidates for president — who want to keep the deck stacked for the fuels of the past,” she wrote. “They support wasteful subsidies for oil and gas, block investments in new clean technologies, and even deny the science of climate change.”

Republican candidates have had to grapple with the question of the RFS. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have said they would undo the mandate; neurosurgeon Ben Carson told an Iowa audience he opposes the mandate but would inject new money into ethanol infrastructure as president; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has said he supports the mandate.

Clinton opposed the RFS as a United States senator, but she supported it by the time she ran for president in 2008. After she announced her 2016 bid in April, she met with a group of Iowa ethanol producers during her first trip back to the state as a candidate.