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Rural Plant Workers Urge White House to Stand Strong on the RFS

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Managers at 150 biofuel production centers across the heartland sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging the White House to “stand strong in defense of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).” In it, they directly address the campaign waged by Texas Senator Ted Cruz to “cut, cap, or eliminate” the market for U.S. biofuels manufactured from renewable farm crops.

“After four straight years of declining agricultural income, your steadfast support of homegrown biofuels has been a lifeline for the farm economy, and we are deeply grateful to you for upholding the campaign promises made to our workers, our families, and all our rural neighbors,” wrote the plant managers to President Trump. “We ask that you send a clear and final signal that this administration will no longer entertain misleading schemes designed to kill the RFS.”

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

As the managers of 150 biofuel manufacturing plants across the country, we urge you to stand strong in defense of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Like hundreds of thousands of others across the country, our jobs and those of our coworkers depend on the RFS, which ensures that American-made biofuels cannot be locked out of the marketplace by monopolies at the fuel pump.

We’ve seen Texas Senator Ted Cruz attempt to confuse stakeholders about the RFS, claiming that his attack on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) is not an attack on our jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth. RINs are simply a flexible and efficient system – designed with help from refiners – for tracking our product, as each gallon of biofuel makes its way to consumers. There is no way to cut, cap, or eliminate RINs without cutting, capping, or eliminating gallons of homegrown fuel. These gimmicks would eliminate market access for higher ethanol blends, and they are deal-killers for rural America.

To justify regulatory handouts for an entire sector, Senator Cruz has attempted to hijack a conversation about one mismanaged refinery. But there is no truth behind the notion that this White House must choose between rural jobs and strong refining revenues. Refiners of all sizes are posting surging profits under the RFS – thanks, in part, to the extraordinary generosity of this administration’s tax reforms.

A true win-win proposal would lift summertime restrictions on the sales of 15 percent ethanol blends. This minor change would support growth on all sides, generate a new supply of RINs, and ease pressure on refiners. But this proposal holds no value if it becomes tied to destructive RIN caps that eliminate market access for biofuels.

The men and women who make up the biofuel supply chain embody values that this administration has championed from day one – middle-class prosperity, U.S. independence, and world-class innovation. Every single day, our products save U.S. drivers money, keep the air clean, and promote U.S. energy dominance. In fact, the Department of Energy reports that nearly one in five employees in our industry are military veterans, a larger share than any other energy sector.

These aren’t just the workers at our plants. They are the hard-working farmers who grow the grains and cellulosic feedstocks for U.S. ethanol. They are the construction trades men and women who build biorefineries in areas of the country left behind by other manufacturing sectors. They are seafarers and truckers who ship farm crops by land and barge. And they are the manufacturing workers who create equipment and agricultural implements to harvest, transport, process, and distribute America’s vast abundance of renewable energy.

The jobs we create allow more than 200 biofuel plants to serve as economic anchors across the heartland, helping to revitalize the rural economy. These communities overwhelmingly voted for elected leaders, like yourself, who support the RFS and understand the importance of maintaining America’s leadership in biofuel production.

After four straight years of declining agricultural income, your steadfast support of homegrown biofuels has been a lifeline for the farm economy, and we are deeply grateful to you for upholding the campaign promises made to our workers, our families, and all our rural neighbors. We ask that you send a clear and final signal that this administration will no longer entertain misleading schemes designed to kill the RFS.