(Washington, DC) – Americans for Energy Security and Innovation Co-Chairmen and former Senators Jim Talent and Rick Santorum sent the following letter to Congressman and Trump energy advisor Kevin Cramer. Representative Cramer recently told Bloomberg News that he is advising Mr. Trump to phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):
The Honorable Kevin Cramer
U.S. House of Representatives
1032 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Cramer:
We write to express our concern regarding your recent statements on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a policy that enjoys strong bipartisan support from North Dakota Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven, as well as presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. We urge you to join your fellow leaders in supporting a policy that is vital to protecting our economy, our environment, and our nation’s energy security.
A recent Bloomberg News report about your advice to the Trump campaign notes that you consider the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard to be met, saying that “the market has been created” and “free markets are free markets.” As lawmakers who championed the RFS prior to your service in Congress, we assure you that this policy remains a vital bulwark for U.S. energy security against foreign manipulation. If Congress or the next president were to undermine the RFS, the consequences would be dire – not just for farmers and workers in states like North Dakota – but for consumers across the country.
The unfortunate truth is that the global energy market is not a free market. As you told Bloomberg News, America needs stronger – not weaker – tools to combat collusion by groups like the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). On April 17, oil ministers from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and OPEC met to explore options for pushing up the price of oil. OPEC meets again on June 2. Even today’s relatively modest prices can be traced back to a decision by Gulf states to temporarily flood the market with oil and drive out U.S. competition, crippling the economies of communities across North Dakota and Texas. Opening this market to truly free competition will require a sustained commitment to the RFS, as Mr. Trump promised voters in January.
With the RFS to combat foreign manipulation, U.S. biofuels have become more than cost-competitive with conventional gasoline, they produce dramatically fewer emissions, and displace toxic gasoline additives linked to cancer and groundwater contamination. It’s important to note that American consumers reap these rewards at little or no cost. There are no subsidies or tax breaks for ethanol. The RFS guarantees a market but not a price, and the RFS has a long track record of reducing the cost of fuel. Moreover, the domestic biofuel industry supports more than 852,000 American jobs.
To protect and accelerate America’s progress toward energy security, we urge you to support the RFS and use your position – in Congress and as an energy policy advisor to our party’s presumptive presidential nominee – to educate other leaders against confusing a short-term dip in oil prices with long-term energy security. We cannot afford to squander America’s most effective tool against hostile nations that seek to use energy as a weapon.
Former Senator Jim Talent Former Senator Rick Santorum