OPIS Biofuels Headlines

July 23, 2014
Braley Memo: No Lawmaker Has Worked Harder to Defend RFS

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who’s in a closely watched race for Iowa’s Senate seat this November, really wants constituents to know how hard he has worked to protect the renewable fuel standard (RFS2) from proposed cuts.

In a four-page memo sent to Iowa media earlier this month, and obtained by OPIS, Braley’s chief of staff outlined a timeline of the lawmaker’s actions related to the biofuels rule and included glowing quotes from four ethanol trade groups and companies on his efforts.

In November 2013, EPA released its proposed 2014 RFS with nearly across-the-board cuts. “It’s anticipated that the EPA will issue a final ruling sometime this summer. This ruling will have a huge impact on Iowa, with biofuels contributing over 60,000 jobs and billions of dollars to the Iowa economy,” Braley chief of staff John Davis wrote in the July 10 memo.

“Bruce has led Congressional opposition to this draft rule--believing that Iowa is uniquely situated to revolutionize global biofuel production,” the memo continued. “Even before the EPA issued their misguided draft rule last November, Bruce worked to ensure that the RFS was maintained and that Iowa’s economy could continue to innovate and grow. Since the draft rule was issued, no member of Congress has more consistently and strongly advocated that the EPA rethink its mistaken effort to roll back the RFS. We’re hopeful that the EPA will consider the advocacy of Bruce and so many others in Iowa when making their final decision,” the memo noted.

The memo also included quotes touting Braley’s leadership on the issue from Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy and Gary Eischeid, general manager of POET Biorefining-Gowrie.

Of note, the political action committees of RFA, Growth Energy and POET all gave campaign contributions to Braley this election cycle.

Braley spokesman Drew Pusateri told OPIS the memo was sent “to make folks aware of how much a priority the RFS is for Braley.”

The memo included a detailed timeline of Braley’s RFS-related efforts, starting in April 2013 with a letter he wrote to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, discussing the economic benefits of the RFS.

Among other highlights:
--An August 2013 tour of POET’s 56-million gal/yr Hanlontown, Iowa, ethanol plant.
--December 2013 testimony in opposition to the proposed 2014 RFS reduction at an EPA field hearing in Washington, D.C.
--A March 2014 meeting with senior White House advisors John Podesta and Dan Utech.
--A June 2014 letter to EPA’s Inspector General, requesting an investigation into the process involved in crafting the RFS proposal.
--A July 2014 sponsored educational briefing with Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) for members of congress and their staff on the RFS.

Braley is running this November against Republican candidate Joni Ernst, seeking the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

"We have suggested in the past that the White House could look to empower Braley's chances and help Democrats retain the Senate by increasing biofuel targets under the 2014 RFS,” Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners, wrote in a note to clients last month. He expects EPA to delay the release of the final 2014 RFS until later this summer or early fall, closer to the mid-term elections.

--Rachel Gantz, rgantz@opisnet.com


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