Breaking Down Tim Scott’s Claim That He Supports The Renewable Fuel Standard

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s presidential campaign stated in an Aug. 14 ad that he supports the renewable fuel standard (RFS).

The ad, titled “Bountiful Harvest,” was released in August and touted Scott’s support for ethanol and the RFS. The narrator says, “Tim Scott supports the Renewable Fuel Standard and believes E 15 should be sold year-round.”

Scott has called for a greater emphasis on ethanol in recent town hall in Iowa, according to KCRG. The outlet reported that Scott said, “So, in my administration, you see a more of a emphasis on ethanol and our ability to diversify our energy supply starting right here. It creates high-paying jobs, creates wealth, and most importantly it is really helpful in our national security.”

The RFS “is a national policy that requires a certain volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil or jet fuel,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). E15 is defined by the EPA as “as gasoline blended with 10.5% to 15% ethanol.” (RELATED: 9 Claims From The 1st Republican Primary Debate)

Scott has previously supported efforts to repeal the RFS, including co-sponsoring a 2013 bill that would have repealed it. The bill was titled the “Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act.” The bill would repeal the RFS and notes that “Section 204 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 7545 note; Public Law 110–140) is repealed.” The bill was covered by media outlets such as KGAB and the Ethanol Producers Magazine.

Scott voted for an amendment to the American Crude Oil Export Equality Act in October 2015 during a Senate Banking Committee markup session (47 minutes in) that would end the corn component of the RFS. The anti-ethanol amendment was rejected 15-7, according to the Des Moines Register. Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said in Sept. 30, 2015 floor statement that it was “time for Big Oil to lay off the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

In an update to the remarks, Grassley’s website reads, “This week, the Senate Banking Committee voted to lift the ban on U.S. oil exports.  The committee defeated an amendment that would have eliminated the corn ethanol blending requirements under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.  Sen. Chuck Grassley advocates for an all-of-the-above energy policy that treats all forms of energy fairly.”

Scott also signed a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in 2012 urging the EPA to “consider a fair and meaningful nationwide adjustment” to the RFS due to droughts and other economic factors at the time.

Scott’s campaign communication director Nathan Brand told Check Your Fact that “Senator Tim Scott supports ethanol because he knows energy security is national security, and that biofuel mixing ethanol into our gas actually reduces our dependency on foreign oil from adversarial countries.”

“Tim knows we need to restart America’s energy future, and ethanol is important to our nation’s energy independence. Senator Scott was an outspoken critic of Obama’s EPA, which weaponized energy policies to harm American energy independence,” Brand said.

The Scott campaign pointed to the Obama administration use of the RFS as a reason for why Scott supported efforts to repeal the standard. A June 2013 press release from Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who co-sponsored the Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act alongside Scott and several other senators, pointed to the “EPA’s rejection of petitions from Arkansas, North Carolina, New Mexico, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Utah, and Wyoming to suspend the RFS after last year’s droughts.”

Scott is currently polling at third in Iowa, according to The Dispatch and aggregate polling from RealClearPolitics.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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