Oil-State Senators Want Meeting with Trump

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN/Progresive Farmer • Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017

OMAHA (DTN) — Following in the footsteps of the success of Midwest lawmakers last week who pressured President Donald Trump’s administration to reiterate its support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, a group of senators from oil-producing states are attempting to replicate that success.

The biofuels industry scored a big win on the RFS when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed course on proposals to cut total volumes in 2018 and to change the way the biofuels credits system works.

This week, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have held up the confirmation of USDA nominee and Iowa native Bill Northey, Politico reported. Lee released his hold, but Cruz still had a hold on Northey’s nomination as of late Wednesday, Politico reported. Last week Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, threatened to hold up EPA nominees to convince the agency to reverse course on the RFS. Northey has wide bipartisan support.

Essentially, the outcry from ethanol groups and Midwest lawmakers during the past two weeks is what brought the RFS concerns to the attention of the president, and led EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to back down from the proposals.

On Wednesday, Cruz, Lee and seven other Republican senators sent a letter to Trump asking for a meeting to discuss the potential for RFS reform. Sens. John Cornyn, Texas, Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso of Wyoming, Jeff Flake, Arizona, and James Inhofe and James Lankford, Oklahoma, also signed the letter.