By Office of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy met Dec. 7 with President Donald Trump, top administration officials and a group of fellow senators at the White House to advocate for Louisiana oil refining jobs while discussing potential changes to the nation’s biofuels policy.
“Louisiana is one of the nation’s largest energy refining states. As such, we have 17 refineries with thousands of workers who depend on maintaining a reasonable proportion of biofuels for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It’s imperative that we ensure our nation’s refineries have a seat at the table as we continue to debate a potential legislative overhaul of the RFS,” Kennedy said.
“The current Renewable Fuel Standard is harming Louisiana refiners, families, fishers and workers,” Cassidy said. “The status quo is unacceptable, so today’s meeting with President Trump was a positive step in the right direction. I look forward to finding answers for this issue.”
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) sets the amount of ethanol and biodiesel that must be blended into transportation fuel. The mandated minimum amount of biofuel increases each year, decided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To make sure that companies are compliant, the EPA uses a credit trading system called the Renewable Identification Number (RIN).
The refiners are the obligated party and must submit these “RIN” credits. If the refiners can’t blend the fuel themselves, then they purchase these RINs from rivals that do. Each gallon of renewable fuel has its own RIN.
The RFS was designed to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and increase agriculture production. Just a few years after the RFS started, the shale boom happened and changed the playing field. The RFS is a government program that is costing refiners billions and ultimately placing the cost on the consumer at the pump.
The meeting was attended by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. Also in attendance were Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).