Oil-and-gas lobby talks biofuel rule with White House, EPA, senior lawmakers
Zack Colman - 04/17/13 05:35 PM ET
The head of a powerful oil industry lobbying group met with top White House officials and senior lawmakers Wednesday about stripping a federal biofuel rule.
“We’re talking about the renewable fuel standard (RFS). It’s a hot topic,” American Petroleum Institute (API) chief executive Jack Gerard told reporters at the Capitol. “We’re just making some visits, making people understand the importance of repealing the RFS.”
API wants to repeal the biofuel rule, which requires refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuel into conventional petroleum by 2022.
A list of Gerard’s meetings obtained by The Hill showed the lobbyist met with a power group of Washington, D.C., figures, underscoring the intensifying lobbying and political battle surrounding the biofuel mandate.
Gerard met with several top Obama administration officials, including: Heather Zichal, President Obama’s top climate adviser; Gina McCarthy, director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation, who is Obama’s pick to run EPA; Bob Perciasepe, acting EPA administrator; and Gene Sperling, Obama’s chief economic advisor.
For his part, Obama has been a staunch supporter of biofuels. His fiscal 2014 budget plan proposes major increases for alternative fuel research, and he also is pushing an alternative fuel and vehicle research fund.
McCarthy, who could end up leading EPA, also has touted the impact biofuels have had on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
With the administration proving a possible roadblock to its goals, API also has focused on the legislative route. It formally backed a bill introduced last week by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would repeal the renewable fuel standard, and has been busy lobbying lawmakers to oppose the rule.