Republican Senators Ask Biden Not to “Bend” to Oil Industry Pressure on RFS

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A group of senators has asked President Joe Biden to stand by biofuels. (DTN file photo)
A group of senators has asked President Joe Biden to stand by biofuels. (DTN file photo)

A group of six Midwest United States senators asked President Joe Biden to stand by his campaign promise to “promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol and other biofuel” in the face of pressure from the oil industry to provide relief from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In a letter sent to Biden on Wednesday, Republican Sens. Charles Grassley, Joni Ernst, Iowa; John Thune and M. Michael Rounds, South Dakota; and Deb Fischer, Ben Sasse, Nebraska; said the president should stick to the Democratic Party’s platform that includes to “grow the nation’s biofuel manufacturing sector, including by strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard, supporting E15 blends, and supporting research, development and deployment of advanced biofuels.”

The senators said in the letter Biden “decried” the Trump administration’s use of oil-refinery waivers that “directly harmed our farmers and biofuel producers.”

“Yet now that you are president, having no doubt heard the same tired and debunked complaints from big oil refiners about the Renewable Fuel Standard harming them,” the letter said, “you are reportedly considering bailouts for these refineries, which would undermine the biofuel industry and the family farmers who rely on it.”Apart from being inconsistent with your stated policy position on the campaign trail last year, this proposal is also contrary to your stated commitment to move our economy towards a cleaner energy future, as biofuel like corn-based ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically relative to petroleum-based gasoline.”

The senators said they are aware of the oil lobby’s power but urged Biden to not “bend to their demands to undercut the RFS, by either reducing annual blending obligations, or by any other means that destroys demand for clean renewable ethanol and biodiesel.

“The farmers and biofuel industries in our states would welcome the same access to your national climate advisor (Gina McCarthy) to discuss shared priorities.”

Todd Neeley can be reached at