Sources: Bush didn’t talk about Trump and RFS to ethanol producers

Source: By Hagstrom Report • Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020

HOUSTON – Former President George W. Bush, who signed the bills that established the Renewable Fuel Standard, did not talk about the management of the RFS by President Donald Trump and his staff in a closed-door speech to the 25th annual National Ethanol Conference here Tuesday, sources who attended the event told The Hagstrom Report.

Sources said the speech was inspiring and a reminder of an earlier age of more bipartisan politics. They also said that Bush invoked the role of his father, the late President George H.W. Bush, in his life. The sources did say, however, that Bush made some veiled references that were critical of Trump’s “America First” policy.

Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper said that the media were not admitted to the event and attendees were told they could not take photos or notes at the event at the insistence of Bush’s office. Cooper also declined to reveal how much Bush was paid for the speech.

An RFA spokesman said that a statement in Monday’s Hagstrom Report that a photo opportunity with Bush was auctioned at the RFA Pac reception for $1,800 was incorrect. The photo opportunity was auctioned, but the price reported was not correct, the spokesman said. He declined to reveal how much the winner paid for the photo op.

In a statement after Bush’s speech, Cooper said, “Our industry cannot effectively ‘Focus Forward’ without first celebrating and reflecting on the achievements of the past. We simply would not have the robust and dynamic renewable fuels industry we have today without President Bush’s enduring leadership and vision. The Renewable Fuel Standard has been a tremendous success and provides a firm foundation upon which we will build the future of renewable fuels. We were thrilled to welcome President Bush to the NEC and thank him for all he has done to promote a stronger and more secure energy future.”

RFA noted that the RFS was originally created as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed into law by Bush in August 2005. In December 2007, he signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which extended and greatly expanded the RFS. Between these two signature events, in April 2006, Bush spoke to RFA members in Washington, D.C., where he addressed the importance of energy independence and security.

At the 2007 signing ceremony, Bush remarked that the expanded RFS program was a “… major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding production of renewable fuels and giving future generations a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure,” RFA noted.