Video of Sen. Grassley’s floor speech delivery is available here.
Floor Speech of Sen. Chuck Grassley
EPA Disappoints in Fulfilling Promises on Biofuels
Mr. President, as my colleagues know well, I’ve championed renewable energy and biofuels for a long time.
I’ve 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’ve 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’s good for the environment.
It’s good for our national security and balance of trade. It’s good for rural economies. It’s good for energy independence.
I was pleased that in the most recent presidential election, candidate-Trump made clear his support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard.
He said clearly, “We are going to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
On another occasion, candidate-Trump recognized the benefit of the industry when he said at an ethanol biorefinery, “Amazing what you’ve been able to do – amazing.
And it’s great for the country and the investment is great. Beyond even the product, the investment and the jobs and everything else are great for the country.”
Finally, at a summit focusing on renewable fuels in Iowa in January of 2016, candidate Trump said,
"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.
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 RFS.”
These are very strong words, and I’m glad he said them.
After years of delay and uncertainty from the previous administration, Iowans were very grateful to hear such determination and conviction.
I was somewhat cautious early on when the President named a few members of his cabinet who were from oil-producing states.
So, along with a number of my Senate colleagues, I held a meeting in my office with the nominees for EPA and the Department of Energy, among others.
We expressed our support for biofuels and renewable energy, and the benefit of strong biofuels policies.
One by one they assured us of their support, because they were made well-aware of President Trump’s support.
They knew who was boss, and they knew he supported the RFS.
About a month ago, the President even called me to say he still supports renewable fuels and that he will keep his word on the Renewable Fuel Standard.
He said I was free to tell Iowans of his ongoing support. I’ve gladly done so.
So, you can imagine my surprise today when I see that the 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.
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 level steady at 2.1 billion gallons.
Today’s announcement proposes to reduce both levels.
It’s outrageous that the EPA would change course and propose a reduction in renewable fuel volumes in this way.
This seems like a bait-and-switch from the EPA’s prior proposal and from assurances from President Trump himself and Cabinet secretaries in my office.
Reducing volumes as the EPA proposes would undermine renewable fuel production.
That’s contrary to the worthwhile goal of America first. It’ll undermine U.S. workers, and harm the U.S. economy, particularly in rural areas.
It’s contrary to the goal of meeting the country’s fuel needs through domestic production, which is critical to economic growth.
This all gives me a strong suspicion that Big Oil and oil refineries are prevailing, despite assurances to the contrary.
I plan to press the Administration to drop this terrible plan.
I hope the officials working for the President will keep his word, so I’ll make sure the EPA hears loud and clear the impact the EPA’s proposal will have on Iowa’s corn and soybean farmers, and biofuel producers.