Describing the renewable fuels standard as “a strong engine driving the rural economy,” the American Farm Bureau Federation and five other ag groups in a letter asked President Donald Trump to reject proposals that would undermine the biofuels mandate. The letter was sent Monday, Feb. 26, the day before Trump was expected to gather various administration leaders and senators at the White House to discuss potential changes to the RFS.
“The RFS, which sets targets for blending ethanol and biodiesel into our nation’s fuel supply, created new markets for our farmers, created new jobs in rural America, gave consumers more fuel choices, and improved our nation’s air quality. By any measure, the RFS has been successful not only for agriculture, but for our nation,” the groups wrote.
However, government policies and opposition from the oil industry have threatened the growth of the renewable fuels industry, at a time when rural America is struggling with declining farm income. On the flip side, oil refiners are reporting surging profits and significant gains from recent tax reforms.
The groups pointed out that are ways to address refiners’ concerns without undercutting the RFS. “Any action that seeks to weaken the RFS for the benefit of a handful of refiners will, by extension, be borne on the backs of our farmers,” they wrote.
Expected to attend the lunch-time meeting today were: Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), as well as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.