On February 7, 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 If his objective is lowering the price of RINs, that could be achieved by removing the outdated regulation prohibiting the sale of E15 in the summer months.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.”