Emails show Clinton camp wrestling with stance on RFS

Source: Marc Heller, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign grappled with where to come down on the federal renewable fuel standard ahead of the Iowa caucus, according to emails released by WikiLeaks.

An email from campaign adviser Jake Sullivan to chairman John Podesta suggests a middle-of-the-road position that tweaks the RFS to make it more effective in light of changes in the U.S. domestic energy situation since its last rewrite in 2007.

“This approach would mark a significant departure from her 2008 position and that of the Obama administration, and thus would likely receive considerable primary attention,” Sullivan wrote.

The Clinton campaign has neither verified or denied the authenticity of the emails WikiLeaks has been releasing.

Existing biofuel and corn interests would probably oppose such a stance, Sullivan said, while consumer groups and oil and gas interests would welcome it and some environmental groups would be supportive, he said, as long as Clinton cast it as encouraging a move from conventional to advanced biofuels.

In sharing the email with campaign manager Robby Mook, Podesta added the campaign could settle on a “more ethanol friendly version” of tweaking the policy.

Clinton has generally been supportive of the RFS and of greater use of cellulosic ethanol.

At times, however, her position hasn’t been entirely clear. In August, the campaign brushed back speculation that she would abandon or sharply revamp the RFS after she met with California regulators to discuss whether that state’s low carbon fuel standard could be applied on a national level (Greenwire, Aug. 4).

That followed a 2015 column in Cedar Rapids’ The Gazette in which Clinton said, “We have to get the RFS back on track.”