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Senators tell Trump to leave RFS point of obligation alone

photosbyjim/Thinkstock Ethanol plant behind corn field
Changing who is responsible for complying with RFS will undermine program, senators write.

Farm-state senators are pushing back at the attempt to change the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The point of obligation designates who in the fuel supply chain is responsible for blending biofuels.

Billionaire Carl Icahn has reportedly floated a proposal to change who is responsible for complying with the RFS.

On March 16, 2017, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Amy Klobuchar led 23 senators in a bipartisan letter urging President Trump to maintain the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and deny proposed changes that would derail the current program. 

“We believe such changes are unwarranted and indefensible,” the senators wrote to Trump. “We appreciate the commitment you have made to support the RFS. We strongly urge you to steer clear of administrative changes to the policy that would undermine the program and run contrary to your goals of promoting domestic energy independence and more choices at the pump. We look forward to working with you to ensure the RFS continues to provide the stability and predictability that is creating jobs and economic growth across the country.”

Changing the point of obligation is widely opposed by fuel marketers, retailers, truck stop operators, petroleum producers and renewable fuel producers because of the added complexity and the undermining of investments that businesses have made to comply, the senators wrote.

“The point of obligation is a vital component of the RFS and is working as intended to make sure that consumers have a choice of fuel at the gas pump," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor in a statement. "Growth Energy has consistently opposed any change in the point of obligation.

“The fact is – shifting the point of obligation from refiners and importers to fuel marketers, convenience stores, railroads, truck stops and trucking companies, and even consumer service companies like FedEx and UPS – would throw the RFS into chaos. A change would immediately trigger long and complicated rulemaking that would take years to complete. It would create long-term uncertainty in the entire marketplace and reduce consumer choice at the gas pump by removing the economic incentive for retailers to offer higher biofuel blends, ultimately raising prices on consumers.

Signing the letter in addition to Grassley and Klobuchar are Sens. Joni Ernst, Debbie Stabenow, Roy Blunt, Heidi Heitkamp, John Thune, Brian Schatz, John Hoeven, Claire McCaskill, Tammy Duckworth, Sheldon Whitehouse, Richard Durbin, Edward Markey, Al Franken, Joe Donnelly, Tammy Baldwin, Jack Reed, Mazie Hirono, Gary Peters, Jeanne Shaheen, Jeff Merkley and Michael Bennet.

Source: Growth Energy, Sen. Chuck Grassley


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