Lawmakers react to Trump’s announcement on Renewable Fuel Standards


DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU/AP) — The Trump administration announced Friday it plans to implement new rules that will increase demand for ethanol, reversing a decline caused by exemptions given to oil refineries.

Lawmakers from the tristate area reacted to the news.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa:

President Trump listened to the concerns of farmers and biofuels producers and delivered on their behalf.

This has been a long discussion between the Administration, fellow members of Congress and representatives of the biofuels and oil industries. It’s an issue I heard about frequently at my annual 99 county meetings. Along with Governor Reynolds, Senator Ernst and several other Midwest senators, I was glad to represent Midwest farmers at the White House to convey to the president what farmers had on their minds.

The president listened to all points of view and delivered. Small refineries can still apply for waivers while biofuels are able to blend the legally-required amount.

This plan will fix EPA’s exemption process and help farmers and biofuels producers going forward. The solution outlined by President Trump, Administrator Wheeler and Secretary Perdue is exactly how the RFS is meant to function according to the law as written by Congress. The RFS has a built-in mechanism to make up for waived volumes in advance and EPA will be implementing the law as intended.

Maintaining the integrity of the RFS, repealing WOTUS and allowing year-round sales of E15 will all help American agriculture and the rural economy. These are promises made and promises kept by President Trump.

President Trump has made clear that he is an ally of corn and soybean farmers as well as ethanol and biodiesel producers. He is fighting for the farmer. This announcement is great news for Iowa, the Midwest and the entire country.

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa:

This is great news for Iowa and rural America. President Trump is following through on his commitment to our nation’s hardworking farmers and biofuels producers.

The RFS is essential to the livelihoods of folks across our state, which is why I’ve been fighting tirelessly on behalf of Iowa’s farmers and producers every step of the way and making Iowans’ voices heard throughout this process. Our message was clear: uphold the RFS—15 billion means 15 billion.

The president heard that message and has acted on it. The steps outlined today by the administration will help increase demand for our biofuels, provide certainty for farmers and producers for years to come, and ensure that EPA is implementing the RFS as it was written.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds:

A robust renewable fuel standard is critical to a healthy ag economy in Iowa and across the nation. We are grateful to President Trump for honoring the federal statute to blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually, and allowing existing E10 pumps to deliver E15 fuel, helping drive domestic demand for biofuels. By protecting the RFS, President Trump demonstrated his commitment to rural America and the American farmer.

Today’s announcement is a reflection of the strong, united front from the renewable fuels industry as well as strong leadership from Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. The President clearly heard us when we said 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons, and this deal proves it.

We will never stop fighting for the renewable fuels industry because of its central role in our economy and we appreciate President Trump’s willingness to listen and work with this industry. It is clear, this President remains committed to America’s farmers.

Democrat nominee running for House of Representatives for Iowa’s 4th District J.D. Scholten:

Since taking office, President Trump has granted 85 waivers for big oil refineries, exempting them from blending renewable fuel into gasoline. As a result, demand for ethanol and biodiesel has plummeted, plants are idling or closing, and people are getting laid off. Our rural communities don’t need pandering. We need fairness and consistency — our livelihoods depend on it. While President Trump’s plan today is a step in the right direction to making RFS volumes whole, we shouldn’t forget that his Administration was solely responsible for putting our farmers in this crisis, only now to be playing the hero. We must maintain the pressure and scrutiny on this Administration to stand by the farmers of this country, and not just the big oil industry

Republican nominee running for House of Representatives for Iowa’s 4th District Jermy Taylor:

The Trump Administration has taken a strong step in the right direction, and we owe our thanks to the hard work of Senators Grassley and Ernst for their leadership on this issue. The RIN waiver approval process has been out of control and undermining the renewable fuels industry here in Iowa. This is a sensible reform that will begin to once again level the playing field for Iowa’s ag community. I look forward to working closely with the President on these issues, and I am grateful he has responded to the needs and concerns of the farmers and biofuels industry here in the Fourth District.

Republican nominee running for House of Representatives for Iowa’s 3rd District David Young:

The Trump Administration’s announcement is good and welcomed news for Iowa. It ensures President Trump’s commitment to our corn and soybean growers and ethanol and bio-diesel producers. This is wonderful news for Iowa agriculture, our rural communities, and our economy. 

Despite the Environmental Protection Agency granting waivers to refineries from blending bio-fuels, I am happy to see this proposal ensures the 15 billion gallons set into law to be blended annually will still be implemented and accomplished. 

I am thankful President Trump has not just listened to Iowa’s farmers and producers, but he’s also acted to support them on many fronts. President Trump has implemented E-15 all year-round, halted harmful rules and regulations, negotiated a better trade deal with Mexico and Canada, pursued new trade deals to open markets, and fulfilled his pledge to support the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska:

This is good news for Nebraska farmers and producers. The President and I have talked repeatedly about how important it is for our farmers to have clarity, and I’m glad that he’s focused on this issue. This is a tough time for agriculture but Nebraskans are grateful that the EPA is committed to E-15 being available year-around and following the law when it comes to small refinery exemptions. Nebraskans deserve this.

Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska:

In my discussions with the president, I fought hard for a fair deal for Nebraska’s farmers and ethanol producers. I thank the president for following through on his commitment to rural America. Today’s announcement means more certainty for families, businesses, and communities across the Good Life.

Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska’s 3rd District:

The RFS has been widely successful, bipartisan, and benefits producers and consumers alike. I am glad the President took action to rectify the hardships RFS waivers granted by the EPA have created. This action restores credibility to the RFS consistent with congressional intent and compliments the President’s action to expand E-15.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts:

Ensuring RVOs do not go below 15 billion gallons and expanding access to E15 will bolster the RFS and ethanol production at a critical time for our nation’s rural economy, which has been suffering from low commodity prices,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Thank you to President Trump for taking these important steps for ethanol and our great farm families!

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota:

I want to thank the president for standing up for farm country and sticking to the commitment he recently made to me and several of my farm-state colleagues in the Oval Office,” said Thune. “The president understands that the agriculture community is hurting, and while I look forward to seeing the final details, this announcement builds off our E15 win and points to a new and brighter day at the EPA.

It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of the EPA’s use of small refinery waivers, a process that – when used for its intended purpose – can help alleviate certain hardships for small companies that truly need it. Unfortunately, the EPA has abused this process over the last few years, having granted unnecessary waivers to large companies, which has significantly undermined the RFS. These actions have had a direct and negative effect on operations in South Dakota and other states throughout the Corn Belt, which is why I congratulate the president on today’s announcement.

Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota’s At-Large District:

Today’s announcement is a win for South Dakota farmers, ethanol producers and anyone that cares about a strong rural economy and job growth. I’m proud of the coalition of farm-state members that made it clear that we must maintain the integrity of the RFS as Congress intended.

By maintaining the integrity of the RFS and preventing the abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs), as well as forward-looking proposals that cut red tape and build biofuel infrastructure, the Administration showed they are committed to rural America.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem:

This is a big win for producers. With expanded ethanol capabilities, producers will see an increased market for their product and improved long-term stability. This move is absolutely critical for South Dakota farmers and ranchers as recent years have seen lower commodity prices and unstable market conditions. Thank you, President Trump, for supporting agriculture.

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