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Ted Cruz says Biofuel Policy Overhaul May be Revived
USAgNet - 06/12/2018

A day after a tentative agreement to overhaul U.S. biofuel policy appeared to collapse amid farm-state concerns, EPA chief Scott Pruitt met to discuss the issue with the lead senator pushing for the changes: Ted Cruz. Pruitt had dinner with Cruz, a Texas Republican, at a Washington steakhouse blocks from the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday night.

According to Bloomberg News, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator declined to comment on the meeting as he left the restaurant, but Cruz said the dinner included discussion about the Renewable Fuel Standard and had been planned well before Monday's reports that a White House-brokered accord was unraveling. Cruz stressed that a deal to overhaul the biofuel policy could be revived.

Despite months of negotiations, the Trump administration has struggled to find a balance on a contentious issue that divides two of the president's key constituencies: Midwest farmers and oil interests. On the campaign trail in 2016, Donald Trump promised to support ethanol, a pledge embraced by farmers who grow the corn used to produce it.

Refiners complain about the cost of complying with the biofuel mandate, while farm-state lawmakers say the program provides a crucial safety net for their rural constituents.

On Tuesday, the White House indefinitely delayed an announcement of the planned biofuel changes, a development praised by both of Iowa's Republican senators. Chuck Grassley said on Twitter that the president had rejected a "bad ethanol deal." And Joni Ernst said Wednesday that "there is no deal," because Trump said "he's not going to sign anything that will harm the farmers."

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