RFA asks for aid, Grassley calls biofuels industry ‘very nervous’
The Renewable Fuels Association said that the government should help the “liquid fuel industries” — including ethanol producers — while Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he found biofuels leaders “very nervous” when he met with them recently.
On a call to rural reporters, Grassley said he did not think there was much sentiment in Congress to help “Big Oil,” but that if there were any assistance, it should include ethanol.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a news release, “As an industry that employs 350,000 Americans across the heartland, we’re carefully watching the government’s response to turmoil in the energy markets.”
“Our industry is being adversely affected not only by the economic constraints caused by the coronavirus, but also by the oil price war, ongoing trade disputes and EPA’s small refinery waivers,” Cooper said.
“While the policy response to turbulence in the energy markets has so far focused largely on supporting crude oil producers, we urge the administration to recognize that biofuel and agricultural commodity markets are suffering as well.
“Ethanol futures prices hit a record low in recent days, as the coronavirus is expected to negatively impact domestic and international fuel demand in the near term. With many ethanol plants on the verge of shutting down, we implore the Trump administration to take action that equitably supports all liquid fuel industries — including ethanol producers — during this time of unprecedented market uncertainty and unrest.”
Cooper said the administration could start with a decision not to appeal the recent 10th Circuit court decision on small refinery waivers, and that the Environmental Protection Agency should implement the 500 million gallon remand as ordered by the D.C. Circuit Court in 2017.
“Given the robust financial assistance the Trump administration is planning to provide to oil producers, immediate actions to ensure EPA abides by these court decisions can help soothe concerns among those whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and renewable fuels,” Cooper said. ❖
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The House Democatic Caucus on Thursday approved the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee’s recommendation of Rep. David Scott, R-Ga., as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.