EPA PROPOSAL ON BIODIESEL; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 154
(Senate - September 26, 2017)

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[Pages S6157-S6158]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                       EPA PROPOSAL ON BIODIESEL

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I come to the floor because I am very 
disturbed about some actions coming out of EPA affecting biofuels and 
contrary to what the President promised. In other words, I think people 
working for the President aren't following the President's direction.
  As my colleagues know well, I have championed renewable fuels and 
other energies for a long period of time. I have worked hard to enact 
policies to encourage the growth of renewable electricity from sources 
such as wind and solar. The same is true for biofuels. I have pursued 
policies to grow our country's production of renewable fuels, such as 
conventional corn ethanol, biodiesel, and cellulosic ethanol. I support 
renewable energy because it is good for the economy. It is good for our 
national security. It is good for our balance of trade. It is good for 
the rural economies, and it is good for energy independence.
  I was pleased that in the most recent Presidential election, then 
Candidate Trump--now our President--made clear his support for ethanol 
and the renewable fuels standard. He said clearly: ``We are going to 
protect the Renewable Fuels Standard.''
  On another occasion, Candidate Trump recognized the benefits of the 
industry when he said this at an ethanol biorefinery:

       Amazing what you've been able to do--amazing. And it's 
     great for the country and

[[Page S6158]]

     the investment is great. Beyond even the product, the 
     investment and the jobs and everything else are great for the 

  Finally, at a summit focusing on renewable fuels in Iowa, as a 
candidate in January of 2016, Mr. Trump said this:

       The RFS, which is Renewable Fuel Standard, is an important 
     tool in the mission to achieve energy independence to the 
     United States. I will do all that is in my power as President 
     to achieve that goal. . . . As President, I will encourage 
     Congress to be cautious in attempting to charge and change 
     any part of the RFS. . . . Energy independence is a 
     requirement of America to become great again.

  Candidate Trump continued:

       My theme is `Make America Great Again.' It's an important 
     part of it. The EPA should ensure that biofuel RVOs, or blend 
     levels, match the statutory level set by Congress under the 

  These are, in fact, very strong words and went over well with farmers 
and alternative energy people in my State and throughout the country, 
and I am glad he said them. After years of delay and uncertainty from 
the previous administration, Iowans are very grateful to hear such 
determination and conviction from Candidate Trump, now President Trump.
  I was somewhat cautious early on when the President named a few 
members of his Cabinet who were from oil-producing States. Fearful of 
Big Oil's opposition to biofuels and then concerned about whether the 
President would keep his promise, I, along with a number of my Senate 
colleagues, held a meeting in my office with the nominees for Director 
of EPA and Secretary of Energy, among others. We expressed to those 
nominees our support for biofuels and renewable energy and the benefits 
of strong biofuels policies. One by one, these nominees assured us of 
their support because they were made well aware of President Trump's 
support by the President himself. They told us that they knew who was 
boss, and they knew the President supported the Renewable Fuel 
  About a month ago, the President called me. I was traveling to 
Northwest Iowa for my town meetings. He called me. We talked on the 
cellphone for maybe a couple of minutes. He was somewhat worried--
although he didn't say why he was worried--that people might be 
questioning whether he still supported ethanol and other biofuels. He 
made very clear to me that he supports renewable fuels and that he will 
keep his word on the Renewable Fuel Standard. He said he wanted me to 
tell that to the people of Iowa.
  There are a lot of ways you can tell the people of Iowa, but one of 
the ways I did what he asked is I tweeted it to the 140,000 people who 
are on my Twitter feed. I have done what he asked me to do.
  Here we are today. You can imagine my surprise this very day when I 
saw that President Trump's EPA has released a proposal out of the blue 
to reduce the volume requirements for biodiesel for 2018 and 2019 under 
the Renewable Fuel Standard. That is the RFS.
  This action today has come out of nowhere. The EPA just released a 
proposal in July to set blending levels for biodiesel. It did not touch 
the 2018 level, which was already finalized at 2.1 billion gallons. The 
July proposal would keep the 2019 levels steady at 2.1 billion gallons.
  This is what happened today, which I have already referred to. 
Today's announcement proposes to reduce both levels, contrary to what 
the President had said that he was supporting. It is outrageous that 
the EPA would change course and propose a reduction in renewable fuel 
volumes in this particular way. This seems like a bait and switch from 
the EPA's prior proposal and from assurances from President Trump 
himself and from those Cabinet Secretaries who came to my office to 
assure us of their support for the RFS.
  Reducing volumes as the EPA proposes would undermine renewable fuel 
production. That is contrary to the worthwhile goal of America first. 
It will undermine U.S. workers and harm the U.S. economy, particularly 
in rural America. It is contrary to the goal of meeting the country's 
fuel needs through domestic production, which is critical to job 
creation and economic growth.
  This all gives me a strong suspicion that big oil companies and big 
oil refineries are prevailing once again in this Trump EPA, as they did 
in the Obama administration, despite assurances to the contrary that I 
have received from this administration.
  You can bet that I plan to press the administration to drop this 
terrible plan. I hope the officials working for the President will keep 
the President's word, so I will make sure that EPA hears loud and clear 
the impact the EPA's proposal will have on Iowa's corn and soybean 
farmers and the biofuel producers in my State and all the jobs 
connected with it. That is not a way to make America strong once again.
  I yield the floor.