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Senators push for RFS deal

Ernst, Grassley meet with Trump, Cruz; no deal yet

March 2, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Iowa's U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley met Tuesday with President Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to pursue a resolution of the renewable fuels standard, something Senator Ernst said she hoped would result in a win-win for biofuels and the petroleum industry.

On a conference call with reporters, Senator Ernst said, "During today's meeting, Senator Grassley and I made clear that we will not support anything that will harm the 88,000 farms in Iowa or put the 50,000 jobs tied to the renewable fuels industry across my state in jeopardy."

Senator Ernst stated, "In fact, yesterday a report released confirmed what many across the Midwest already know: a strong and robust RFS encourages consumer choice, investment, and innovation; all while reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

Senator Ernst said, "In Iowa alone, the renewable fuels industry and RFS creates $2.4 billion in income and supports almost 50,000 jobs."

Senator Ernst said of the White House meeting, which ended with neither commitment nor agreement from Cruz, whose proposal for RFS waiver credits would gut biofuels demand, according to Senator Grassley, or from President Trump, that "They will not pull the wool over our eyes."

Senator Grassley said, "It is important to take an honest examination of the issues and look at the facts."

Senator Ernst said, "I will not support anything that puts our 88,000 farms in jeopardy. We need a strong, robust renewable fuels standard."

The senators celebrated the long-awaited senate confirmation of Bill Northey, a Spirit Lake native, as the USDA's under secretary for farm production and conservation.

Northey's job will encompass the USDA's "domestic-facing agencies:" the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.

It was Senator Cruz who had blocked Northey's appointment since September over an ethanol dispute.

Senators Grassley and Ernst said they wanted to make it clear that Northey's appointment was in no way a bargaining chip in the bid to resolve the renewable fuels standard issue.

Northey's swearing in and start date have yet to be scheduled.



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