Grassley attempt to move Northey nomination fails | TheFencePost.com

Grassley attempt to move Northey nomination fails

Bob Dinneen

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, attempted to get unanimous consent on the Senate floor Feb. 7 to move forward with the nomination of Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey as Agriculture undersecretary for farm production and conservation, but Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, did not agree to lift his hold on the nomination.

Cruz said that the way the Environmental Protection Agency manages the Renewable Fuel Standard and the Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs threaten jobs in Texas and elsewhere.

Philadelphia Energy Solution has blamed RINS for its decision to seek bankruptcy protection, but Grassley says its bankruptcy has nothing to do with RINs.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also spoke in favor of allowing the Northey nomination to move forward.

Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen in a news release thanked the senators for speaking up for Northey, and said Cruz "is sadly mistaken that there is a 'problem' with the RFS program that is causing refinery workers to lose their jobs. Independent analysis and those of the EPA conclude that RIN costs are recovered with bulk fuel sales and offset by the lower cost of ethanol today."

"Mr. Cruz is also being callously misleading in suggesting representatives of the ethanol industry (including the RFA) have refused to meet to discuss the issue," Dinneen added.

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"We have received no invitation to talk, only media reports of his cynical proposed solution to cap the price of RINs," he said.

"Sen. Cruz wants to help a few refiners by destructing demand for renewable fuels, not by expanding renewable fuel use," Dinneen said. "If his objective is lowering the price of RINs, that could be achieved by removing the outdated regulation prohibiting the sale of E15 in the summer months. That would increase the supply of RINs without undermining the integrity of the RFS program."