Climate Change

21 Nov 2019

Grassley Pushes Trump, EPA to make Changes that will Restore Biofuels Demand

21 Nov 2019  by Donnelle Eller   
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday he met with President Donald Trump this week to push for changes that would restore demand for renewable fuel lost to oil industry waivers.

Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said he met with Trump on Tuesday, making it clear that he was unhappy with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's handling of national biofuels policy.

The EPA determines each year the amount of ethanol and biodiesel, produced from corn and soybeans, that oil refiners must blend into the nation's fuel supply under a federal mandate called the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS.

Grassley, along with fellow Iowa Republicans U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and Gov. Kim Reynolds, said the EPA has failed to uphold a deal Midwestern politicians reached with Trump in September to fully restore renewable fuel gallons lost to waivers the administration granted to the oil industry.

President Donald Trump meets with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2016. (Photo: Associated Press/Mary Altaffer)

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who participated in Tuesday's meeting, has said the agency's proposed approach will ensure 15 billion gallons of ethanol are blended into the national fuel supply. Political leaders and farm and renewable fuel groups are unconvinced.

"My message in a sense, directly or indirectly to the president, is this language has got to be changed in the regulations," Grassley said in a call with Iowa reporters. "That’s what it’s going to take to satisfy me."

"I left satisfied the president’s saying the same thing," he said. "And Wheeler heard him say it: We need to produce 15 billion gallons," the amount required under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

It's an important issue in Iowa, the nation's largest producer of ethanol and corn.

Iowa officials said Trump and his administration agreed in September to reallocate any renewable fuel gallons that are waived, using a three-year rolling average of the actual number of gallons. Instead, the EPA last monthproposed changes that would reallocate gallons based on U.S. Department of Energy recommendations for waivers.

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