Biomass, biofuel groups hopeful Trump will support bioenergy

By Erin Voegele | November 09, 2016

On Nov. 8, the U.S. elected republican nominee Donald Trump to serve as its 45th president. Representatives of the biomass and biofuels industries are saying they look forward to working with the new administration and federal lawmakers to expand the production of bioenergy.

"This election was in part about boosting the economy and creating more jobs in rural America, places where a biomass facility makes a real impact,” said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of the Biomass Power Association. “We are getting to work planning for a Trump Administration and the investments in rural communities and infrastructure that are likely to come with it. We look forward to continuing our work with our many congressional biomass supporters on both sides of the aisle."  

The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas has pointed out that because Trump has not held prior elected office and does not have a voting record, there is a justifiable degree of inquisitiveness about the future. The organization also noted the most highlighted issue on the campaign trail impacting the RNG industry was the renewable fuel standard (RFS), which Trump consistently supported.

The RNG Coalition pointed out that while on the campaign trail, Trump dismissed fellow republican candidate Ted Cruz’s assertion that the RFS should be repealed, and that Trump’s selection of Mike Pence as a running mate was widely viewed as a good sign of his support for biofuels. However, the coalition also noted that Trump campaign advisor Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has called for the repeal of the RFS.

"Fortunately, the bottom line is the RFS is not a party line issue. Many republicans support it—especially republicans from the ‘corn belt’ of America," said Johannes Escudero, executive director of the RNG Coalition. "It is very important to remember that the U.S. Congress we have today is largely the same one we had yesterday."

“Understanding that we need take any campaign promises with a grain of salt, the RNG Coalition is optimistic given President-elect Trump’s position to date,” said David Cox, RNG Coalition director of operations.

A statement issued by the RNG Coalition states the organization looks forward to continuing to engage with state and federal lawmakers, regulatory agencies and the Trump administration to work toward continued market stability for advanced and cellulosic biofuels, along with the continued deployment of RNG.

Several representatives of the first-generation biofuel industry have also spoken out following the election, indicating they believe Trump will continue to support the RFS.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, noted Trump repeatedly expressed support for the RFS and ethanol on the campaign trail and said he understands the importance of clean, domestic energy resources and the economic power of value-added agriculture.

“We are confident Mr. Trump will continue to support the expanded production and use of fuel ethanol,” Dinneen continued. “Moreover, the president-elect is committed to removing regulatory barriers that impede growth. We look forward to working with a Trump administration to remove unnecessary volatility restrictions that have discouraged market acceptance of higher level ethanol blends like E15 and created unreasonable administrative burdens on gasoline marketers willing to offer these fuels to consumers. Finally, a core principle of the Trump campaign has been putting America first and more aggressively pursuing fair trade agreements that recognize the value of American products. We are eager to work with the new administration on myriad trade challenges currently facing the U.S. ethanol industry.”

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, also noted Trump publically supported the RFS throughout his campaign. “In fact, the RFS was one issue where both candidates found common ground, and we applaud their recognition of the importance that biofuels, like ethanol, play in fueling our country,” she said. “Growth Energy looks forward to working with the new administration to ensure the RFS, our nation’s most successful energy policy, continues to progress. Furthermore, we will work to continue expanding market access for biofuels, like E15, which are better for our energy security, environment, consumers’ wallets and rural America’s economic prosperity. Finally, we welcome back our returning champions who have tirelessly fought for a strong biofuels industry and look forward to building relationships and working to educate new members of congress on the many ways Americans benefit from biofuels every day.