Wildlife group hires former lawmakers to work on RFS

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The National Wildlife Federation has added to its K Street team to lobby on the renewable fuel standard.

The conservation group has hired Greenberg Traurig LLP to “monitor legislative and federal action related to Renewable Fuel Standard reform,” according to lobbying disclosure records released last week by the Senate.

Former Reps. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) and Al Wynn (D-Md.), both now senior directors at the firm, are lobbying for the environmental group. Also on Greenberg Traurig’s influence team for NWF is Graham “Rusty” Mathews, a former aide to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

The trio of lobbyists have been representing NWF since Nov. 9, according to records.

NWF has been critical of how U.S. EPA implemented the renewable fuel standard. The group has said in the past that the agency was too lenient with biofuel producers, letting them grow invasive plants for biofuel production (Greenwire, July 2, 2013).

In a blog post last month, David DeGennaro with NWF said EPA had “completely dropped the ball” when it came to protecting wildlife habitat from biofuel producers, “allowing millions of sensitive acres to vanish under the plow on its watch.”

EPA’s decision last year to change the blending requirements for the RFS was controversial, sparking criticism from the oil and gas industry (E&ENews PM, Nov. 30, 2015).

Disclosure records show that NWF has spent $330,000 on lobbying for the first three quarters of 2015.

Ex-lawmaker lobbies on biodiesel tax credit

Former Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) is also in the lobbying game for biofuels.

Lobbying disclosure records recently released by the Senate show that he and Norman Lent III, both at Arent Fox LLP, have been representing Renewable Biofuels Holdings LLC, a Houston-based biofuel company.

Since Nov. 12, the pair of lobbyists has been working on the massive fiscal 2016 spending bill, including “provisions concerning the biodiesel tax incentive (tax extenders legislation),” according to their registration.

An extension of that tax incentive was included in the extenders bill that passed Congress at the end of last year and became law.