Klobuchar Pledges to Roll Back Refinery Exemptions if Elected

02:01PM Jan 23, 2020
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Senator Amy Klobuchar
( MSNBC via MGN )

If elected president, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) plans to immediately roll back all of the small refinery exemptions made to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Klobuchar made the pledge on the AgriTalk Radio show talking with host, Chip Flory.

“We have 137 things we found that a new president,  myself, could do without Congress that are legal, I would point out, and one of them is to look back at all the oil waivers that have been granted, sometimes to big companies like Exxon and Chevron, Klobuchar said. “Those can actually be reversed without any act of Congress or waiting around.”

The EPA has granted 31 small refinery exemptions to the ethanol blending requirements of the RFS, reducing the required ethanol usage by more than 4 billion gallons. There are an additional 21 waiver requests being considered by EPA.

“I think we should be investing in the farmers and the workers of the Midwest instead of the oil cartels of the Mideast,” Klobuchar said.

The senator covered a wide range of agricultural issues on the radio interview:

On rural broadband availability

“When you look at the future of agriculture, you're just seeing more and more need for high-speed access. Farmers shouldn't have to go to the parking lot of McDonald's, which some of my farmers do, to be able to communicate with their buyers or to be able to order equipment and the like."

“What I would like to do as President, and I have a background in telecom in the private sector, is really step back and say, okay, what are the companies, many of them are the small ones, who are actually building this stuff out when they get the funds. Let’s make sure the money goes to good use so the rural broadband actually is happening so that it's not just a talking point on a campaign brochure.”

On trade and the Phase One China deal

“I think that it is a good start. I didn't like that we got there to begin with. I view it this way: the president, while he is now getting some changes made that will be beneficial, when you look back to the very beginning, I think he used a meat cleaver, or maybe I’ll say a tweet cleaver, to get us to where we were, I wouldn't have done those broad tariffs like he did. ,and I think it's going to be really hard for some of our farmers to get back the contracts, even though there are some positive changes being made because over that period of time, a lot of those say soybean contracts went to farmers and other countries that aren't just going to have a one shot deal, they’re going to have a longer term deal.”

“'I’ve been standing up against trade barriers setup when it comes to fake claims from other countries. On H1N1, I ate bacon on TV once to make the point that it was safe, or avian flu and making sure we get at that right away. It's why Senator Cornyn from Texas and I led the way on a vaccine bank in the last farm bill that got passed.”

On the rural economy

“Kids that grow up in rural areas should be able to live there, so that means a strong foreign policy, so we don't get hooked on foreign food like we've been having to buy foreign oil. And then it also means a good policy when it comes to rural hospitals and rural education and rural broadband.”

On ag labor and immigration

“The ag provisions in the immigration reform bill are incredibly important. I was on the Judiciary Committee. I think that the economic case is not being made. It's a difference I have with President Trump. I really think that we need to get immigration reform done. We need workers in our fields in our factories, and we need people starting small businesses. Immigration, if done right, this bill doesn't diminish America, it strengthens America.”

Listen to the full AgriTalk interview below.