Good cop/ Bad cop

Since its passage the Renewable Fuels Standard has been controversial. Supporters protect it and critics attack it. Both sides feel EPA (regardless of Administration) favors one side over the other. From the setting of RVOs (required gallons blended) to meeting deadlines to now SREs (small refinery exemptions) both the biofuels and oil industries have cried foul. What gets lost in the debate is the original intent of the law. It was created to promote a domestic renewable fuels industry and when properly administered that is what it does. I guess we aren’t used to legislation actually doing what it’s intended to do. The RFS has helped significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs while boosting rural economies. Much of the country may not care about the rural economy but in an election year candidates for President do. Politicians who know little or nothing about biofuels or the RFS will travel through states like Iowa pledging their support because they know it means votes. Donald Trump’s public support for biofuels helped him win the last election and he hopes it will help him get re-elected. However in an effort to please both sides of the RFS debate he risks losing the support of a big part of his rural base. Despite the President’s public statements of support his EPA (through 2 administrators) has not backed up his words. Granting numerous waivers from the RFS and not reallocating the lost gallons has not only weakened the RFS but the President’s credibility as well. In trying to please both sides the Administration is playing a good cop/bad cop game. Either the President knows his EPA is allowing this to happen or he should. He is the boss and if he truly wants the RFS to be upheld then he should make it clear to his agency administrator he will either carry out his wishes or he will find someone else who will. (We’ve seen President Trump do this numerous times within his administration) Some believe the President is putting too much trust in what Administrator Wheeler is telling him. If so it’s more important than ever for Ag Secretary Perdue to make the case for biofuels. Agriculture is not calling for a new law just full support for the current law. That would be new.