April 6, 2018

Biofuel Mandates Are Working As Designed

As published by The Wall Street Journal on March 25, 2018
By: Former Missouri Senator Jim Talent
Date: March 25, 2018

Regarding your March 13 editorial “You RIN Some, You Lose Some” and Thomas Landstreet’s “Biofuel Mandates Are a Bad Idea Whose Time May Be Up” (op-ed, March 12): President Trump promised Midwestern voters that he would not abandon the rural economy by gutting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Now refineries are attempting to hijack a conversation about one mismanaged refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), to justify betraying that promise. They want an industry-wide handout that would undermine American energy security, hurt the struggling farm economy and destroy rural manufacturing jobs in biofuel production.

Photo: istock/getty images
The truth is that refiners are making great profits. Valero just announced a six-fold increase in earnings. CVR Energy posted a 2,888% jump in profits per share last quarter. Instead of demanding special favors, they should be thanking this White House for tax reforms that are expected to boost refinery profits by 20%.
Philadelphia Energy Solutions does have issues, but not because of 12-year-old standards for homegrown biofuels. The real threat to PES is from equity investors at the Carlyle Group . They racked up the company’s debt while raiding at least $594 million in corporate funds, according to Reuters.

By any measure the RFS is a clear success. It lowers the price of fuel at the pump, creates an enormous domestic hedge against oil price manipulation by foreign regimes, supports farmers and manufacturing jobs at over 200 biorefineries dotting the heartland and, according to the USDA, slashes greenhouse-gas emissions by 43%.

Jim Talent
Co-Chair, Americans for Energy Security and Innovation