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Agricultural News

Renewable Fuels Association Calls Sen. Cruz's Hold on Bill Northey Nomination "Unconscionable"

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:29:28 CST

Renewable Fuels Association Calls Sen. Cruz's Hold on Bill Northey Nomination This evening, numerous Senators spoke on the floor, urging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to remove the hold that he placed on Bill Northey to be USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. The following is a statement from Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen:

"We thank Senators Grassley, Stabenow, Ernst, and Klobuchar for pushing Senator Cruz to remove this hold that is preventing Bill Northey from serving at USDA. Senator Cruz's concerns have nothing to do with Bill Northey, a man who is eminently qualified to help our nation's farmers.

“Senator Cruz is sadly mistaken that there is a ‘problem’ with the RFS program that is causing refinery workers to lose their jobs. Independent analysis and those of the EPA conclude that RIN costs are recovered with bulk fuel sales and offset by the lower cost of ethanol today.

“Numerous analysts have affirmed Senator Grassley's conclusion that the problems causing Philadelphia Energy Solutions to seek bankruptcy protection have nothing at all to do with RIN costs, and everything to do with that refinery's antiquated technology, higher imported crude costs, and poor management. Scapegoating the RFS will do nothing to protect workers at that refinery.

“Mr. Cruz is also being callously misleading in suggesting representatives of the ethanol industry (including the RFA) have refused to meet to discuss the issue. We have received no invitation to talk, only media reports of his cynical proposed solution to cap the price of RINs. Sen. Cruz wants to help a few refiners by destructing demand for renewable fuels, NOT by expanding renewable fuel use. If his objective is lowering the price of RINs, that could be achieved by removing the outdated regulation prohibiting the sale of E15 in the summer months. That would increase the supply of RINs without undermining the integrity of the RFS program.

“It is unconscionable that Sen. Cruz is holding up the nomination of Bill Northey to be Under Secretary of USDA in dogged pursuit of his very parochial agenda. Bill Northey, by all accounts, is the right man for the job. Senator Cruz should drop his hold on Mr. Northey, allow the President and Secretary Perdue to complete their team, and look beyond the talking points of a few mismanaged refineries to assure a more sustainable all of the above energy policy for all Americans.”

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), echoed Dinneen's comments, expressing his own displeasure with Cruz's hold on Northey's nomination in the statement that follows.

“The Senate Agriculture Committee approved Bill Northey’s nomination unanimously, and the full Senate could have approved his nomination today. Farmers need Bill Northey on the job at USDA, and Senator Cruz’s hold is harmful to farmers.

"Senator Cruz claims he wants a 'win-win' that benefits corn farmers. Corn farmers’ definition of a 'win-win' is providing regulatory parity for E15 and higher blends of ethanol, which would increase the supply of RINs to lower RIN values, and improving transparency in the trading system. The only plan Senator Cruz has is to block the confirmation of a well-qualified and much-needed leader at the Department of Agriculture in order to undercut the successful and beneficial Renewable Fuel Standard.

"Whether it’s EPA, financial analysts or university experts, all confirm refiners are not facing a RIN price impact because they recover any costs through the price they receive for their refined products. Senator Cruz is trying to upend the RFS to address a non-existent problem and bail out refiners who have made poor business decisions. Unlike farmers - who USDA projects will face the lowest net farm income since 2006 this year - most refiners are reporting surging profits.

"Corn farmers are grateful for the leadership of Senators Chuck Grassley, Debbie Stabenow, Joni Ernst and Amy Klobuchar in supporting Bill Northey’s nomination on the Senate floor. Corn farmers also appreciate President Trump’s strong support of biofuels, rural communities and consumers.”

Source - Renewable Fuels Association



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